I was late arriving which meant I was late starting by about 30 minutes. I was lucky to catch the organiser to sign on and get my Brevet card, as I was leaving there another rider arrived. After leaving the carpark I quickly started to catch other riders, which was a little concerning; I was going too fast!
It was a pleasant ride to Jodrell Bank and to the first control at Whitchurch, I must say it arrived quicker than I anticipated (McD’s – cheeseburger and a fizzy drink).
On to Shrewsbury and Ford: another pleasant stage but there is differently going to be some climbs on the way back to Wem 🙁 (there is a step long climb on the way back to Montford Bridge.)
Ford and Dinkys Dinahs (24hr Cafe). There was one man who was multitasking and doing an excellent job too. Although, I spent longer here than I wanted to. I opted for the egg bap and a cup of tea. Even though I had butter on the bap it was a little dry or more accurately there was too much bread.
Down to Newtown: it was an error having the egg bap as the saltiness of the butter gave me indigestion for the first hour of this stage. Also, the road felt heavy making it slow going. On the plus side, I saw a shooting star and a couple of foxes. The village of Montgomery represents a downward trend to the A-road which marks the run into the McD’s at Newtown (I was told that they do not do cheeseburgers in the morning but they do cheese bagel, cheese bagel it was with a fizzy pop). I did not waste to much time here as I want to regain the time I had lost and the ride back included a lot of small hills which kill your speed.
Back to Ford: I anticipated a hard ride back to Ford given the hilly elements and the hard road surface so I decided to use my tried and tested method of racing down the hills and maintaining the momentum on the uphill, this worked very well and my concern that I risked burning out was unfounded. I quickly realised that I was motoring long very quickly.
During my ride back to Ford, I had decided that I was doing so well that I would not stop at the Dinkys Dinahs as it would cost me a lot of time waiting to be served, instead I stopped at the service station for two bounty bars and a can of coke. The bakery lady was kind enough to fill my water bottles too. I took 10 minutes rest and pushed on which meant that I was back on time and I was gaining time with every stage. My next target was Wem as I knew that the bulk of the hills would be completed.
I had five minutes at Wem and texted the wife letting her know that I would be back for 6pm and tea. She replied saying that we were having a takeaway for tea…. added motivation!
Wem to Alsager, seemed to take forever. I noticed that I had slowed and started to become tired so I took a 10 minute break at some random village. As I sat, a group of riders came past who I had followed all the way to Newtown and back to Ford but they had stopped at the Dinkys Dinahs! Good decision to stop at the service station.
I jumped back on my bike and pushed on, quickly catching a small group of riders up at Audlem. I pushed on to Alsager and stopped for chips and bean and another can of Coke. I took 30 minutes at Alsager before making the final push to the finish line.
The final stage took me back to Jodrell Bank and a few hills which were hard after already doing 160 miles. It did take a little longer than I expected but I think this was all the turns in the road and the final leg syndrome. I had managed to stay dry for most of the day but the last few miles was heavy rain. I had hoped that it would clean my bike but no such luck.
I was back 10 minutes later than I had planned but considering I started 30 minutes late I was happy with that time.