Moreton Corbet Castle (Audax, DIY, 200km)

Lovely ride on the Cheshire Plains, with lots of places to stop and visit or to stop and eat. This will make a great winter ride.

Another very early start (01:20am) after the rain had passed over. Heading for the Cheshire Plains I took my normal route through Eccleshaw, Stoke on Tren but turn left in the village for Baten Upon Tern and Wem (42miles). I had a final downpour as I approached Stoke on Tren which was supported by a hard headwind.

It finally stopped raining and the wind had started to reduce on my approach to Prees Heath (58miles) the sun had risen but the sunrise was hidden by the clouds. By the time I reached Prees Heath the cloud had begun to break, and I could see blue sky, the day was starting to look and feel a little brighter. The café was still closed so I opted for a meal deal at the 24hr petrol station.

Leaving Prees Heath the world was a happy place, this quickly changed as I encountered the hard headwind again which resulted in a slow crawl to Baschurch (74miles). To be honest, by the time I made it to Baschurch I was happy to turn for home! However, it was another 8miles to (81miles) Ford and Dinkys Dinahs, so I pushed on. Dinkys was open but on reduced hours and staff, this resulted in a long wait due to the volume of people. After eating my egg bap, I fancied another cup of tea, but I could not face another long wait in line with social distancing, so I pushed on for home.

The roads between Ford and Battlefield (91miles) were being resurfaced which made them very bumpy and slippy on the stone chippings. This made for an unpleasant 10miles. However, I did overtake several road sweepers along the way which was entertaining for me. I had initially promised myself that I would not stop at Battlefield Star Bucks for coffee but when I looked across the car park there were only a few people in the building, no waiting, so I pulled off for a coffee.

The leg along the main road (A53) is very uninspiring for the most part, the traffic is very forgiving of cyclists, in fact, it was the car drivers rather than the vans and trucks which came too close.  Along this stretch of road, I could see a wind vortex that was sucking the cut grass from the field pushing it up into the sky. I had thought about recording it as a video, but it was too far away for the lens. As I pulled off the main road the wind gradually reduced but I think this was due to the increase in hedging and barriers. 

Stanford Bridge (petrol station) at 106 miles quickly arrived and passed and before I realised, I was at 117miles and Eccleshaw.  I stopped at Eccleshaw and had a drink of milk and I was very surprised at how quiet it was, but there was a semi-lockdown. The usual climb to Stone and up to Meir Heath with very few cars on the roads. I was plodding my way up the hill imagining how much nicer cycling would be with reduced traffic like today. As if to bring me back to reality the rain came back with vengeance turning me into a big drip again!