Ride: Llandudno and back…

Back in August last year I joined my local cycling club – the Timperley Boneshakers. Established in 2009 every year they run a charity ride to fund raise for various local charities.

The Ride

This year the ride was from Timperley to Llandudno and back over 2 days, to raise funds for Harry and Jock’s Appeal.

The appeal’s aim is to raise funds to provide equipment for the neonatal unit and the maternity unit, and to support the services and facilities provided for bereaved parents, or parents of poorly babies and children at Wythenshawe hospital, Manchester.

If you’d like to donate please us the following link - JustGiving

Preparation?

The UK has had the best summer it’s had since the 70s, and the weather changed so quickly that I was left very unprepared. I spent the entire weekend cold and wet. My summer weight bib shorts, overshoes and shell were just not capable of protecting me in single digit temperatures and driving rain. Had I not been surrounded by a good group of people I think I would have gone insane.

Day 1

The first day started at approximately 7:30 am, 45 riders all gathering at Timperley Methodist Church for photos and pep talks before all leaving for our weekend long suffer-fest.

Ready?

The first 50 miles or so were relatively uneventful, 1 flooded lane and some minor climbing was all we had to contend with until we hit Wrexham. That’s when we hit the first mountain.

400 feet in one of the guys in the group asked “We’ve peaked now, surely?”. We had not. 800 feet were still remaining.

One of my (admittedly, very few) strengths in cycling is climbing. I may not be a racing whippet able to haul up a mountain at lightspeed, but the ability to sit, spin and tap out a rhythm up a climb is very much in my wheel house. 500ft in to the climb I realise I’d dropped everyone I had started with at the bottom of the mountain, so I put some music on, zoned out and crawled my way up.

Half way up a mountain

Peaking around 1100ft I finished the climb and was rewarded with some beautiful descent. 2 smaller peaks followed which I managed to dispatch relatively easily followed by a near 800ft descent in to Ruthin for lunch.

Lunch time!
It was an interesting lunch….

What followed Ruthin was probably some of the most unpleasant riding I’ve ever experienced.

As we descended out of Ruthin the temperature dropped dramatically and the rain rolled in. By the time we hit the climb up to Denbigh we were cold and damp. I managed to tap out the next few hours climbing up to Bylchau but by this point, with the combination of cold, rain and climbing, I was well and truly done in.

A fork in the road at Llansannan allowed the rest of the group to take a longer route via Llanrwst and Conwy while our small group of 8 people headed towards Colwyn Bay and a shorter route to the hotel.

What we didn’t bank on was another 1000ft of climbing and 2 Category 4 climbs.

A few hours later, we arrived, cold, sodden and very much looking forward to a hot shower.

Day 2

Day 2 was a much more relaxed affair.

Around 9:30am 41 cyclists all gathered outside the hotel for another photo opportunity and to check their bikes before the easy ride home.

Who has a pump?
Ready?

We followed the coast road out of Llandudno, through Colwyn Bay, Rhyl and Prestatyn. Most of this was segregated shared bike lanes which made a change from the purely on-road riding I’d been doing for the past year.

After Prestatyn we hit the A548 all the way to Connah’s Quay. Just after passing Mostyn a band of freezing rain rolled in and we spent the next 10 or so miles, head down driving the pace as we tried to out run it.

Just before Connah’s Quay the rain lifted and the sun came out which was a welcome relief. From there we jumped on the Chester Millenium Greenway which is 9 miles of segregated pathway for walkers and cyclists a like.

Head of the Chester Millenium Greenway, sun is shining!

I did quite enjoy the Greenway, being totally segregated from traffic made for a much more sedate ride, and pumping the odd speed bumps for free speed was a lot of fun.

After the Greenway we made our way to Frodsham where we stopped at the Bear’s Paw for lunch (and to dry off).

Leaving the Bear’s Paw after lunch.

From here we climbed out of Frodsham (the only real climb of the day) and made our way to the Green Dragon pub in Lymm before the ceremonial ride back to Timperley. 41 cyclists all clad in Boneshakers Orange riding together was certainly a sight to behold.

One last stop at the Green Dragon pub…
Back at home to waiting family and friends.

So, after 2 days, 185.42 miles and a combined 8354ft of climbing, what’s my next challenge?

1000 miles for Humphrey

Because “why the hell not?”

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