Well here is the Garmin data from my first Audax ride. This shows the timed loop from start to finish. I also cycled to the start and home again so covered an extra 12 miles making it 155 miles all told. I did the ride with John who I made contact with via CycleChat and who's done this route a few times before. It made a big difference not having to stop to check navigation and also having someone to cycle with. He was a great motivator.
We stopped a few times for short breaks and to collect receipts in order to prove we had passed set places along the route and at what time. On through Frodsham and Ellesmere Port we went. We also had a stop on the Wirral overlooking Wales as we cycled up the only off road section through Wirral country park - The Wirral Way. This was a lovely bit before we hit the tarmac once more for Birkenhead and the train under the Mersey to Liverpool. I never knew there was a train tunnel there as I suppose the ferry kind of eclipses other forms of river crossing for non-Liverpudlian's. Through Liverpool and north to Formby from where we turned east for Manchester via St Helens.
|John and the bikes on the Wirral with Wales in the distance|
The weather was lovely on the whole except for a constant head wind on the way back. I was approaching 100 miles and could see my average speed getting slower and slower as my legs grew heavier and heavier. I called to John that he should go on at his own pace and I would complete when I could but he stopped, told me to eat some sugary stuff, drink some water and have a rest for a few minutes. The psychological barrier of 100 miles, the head wind and hitting a sugar low all at the same time were soon overcome as the sugar hit my bloodstream and we set off again.
Coming into the outskirts of Manchester over the Warburton Bridge the light had gone from the sky and my Edelux light came into it's, carving a nice wide path out of the unlit roads and allowing a fair lick of speed to be maintained. As we travelled through Sale and into Trafford, I was tempted to head off home as the route then took me away from my abode south of the city centre and onto the Velodrome. I persevered but it was difficult and made all the worse by a cramp in my right thigh which made actually turning the pedals with any force a real struggle.
John went ahead for the last couple of miles due to my slow, ponderous and laboured cycling at this point, We met up at the Asda ATM for our last receipt and then bid a quick but heartfelt farewell. I still had 6 miles to cover for home. The wife was waiting and there was bottle of wine to celebrate with. And the next day? Well I felt fine apart from a little weakness in both hands. Not what I expected at all and I certainly could have done it again if I had the time.
Good start I think!