Monday, 3 October 2011

Hey Diddle Diddle..

Martin, Sean Kelly & Andy
Me and Mart with Shifnal Cycling Socities newest member!

On Sunday the society took part in the Cat and Fiddle Challenge ride organised by Brian Rourke Cycles in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. A 55(ish) mile ride from Brian Rourke's shop in Burslem, up and over the famous Cat & Fiddle pass, before returning via Leek.

Johhny took plenty of pictures on the day and you can view them at his flickr account. And yes that is Sean Kelly in the pic above. A true giant of the sport! You can check out his mightily impressive Palmares here!

So, what of the ride? Well the weather on the day was just about perfect and the turn out was very impressive.

From the start just behind the Rourke HQ, the route took us out of the urban decay of Stoke, and up through Congleton towards Macclesfield. If was on the approach to Macc that we encountered what could have been a ride ending mechanical. Mart punctured, and on closer inspection it turned out that his rear tyre was well past it's best. We tried a desparate attempt to patch it up but it was to no avail. As John tweeted after the event, a picture can be worth a thousand words....

Cat & Fiddle
A (nearly) broken Mart

So we gave the emergency bike repair number a call, and hey presto in a really very short time(although it seemed like an age as we were passed by literally hundreds of fellow riders) a van arrived and produced a new tyre and tube. They then proceeded to fit the new tyre and tube, inflate to the specified pressure, and then take away the rubbish. When asked how much we owed them, the reply was "It's free, just make a donation to the cftrust at the finish. Absolutley awesome service, and an example of how well organised this event was.

Back up and rolling we set off to towards the section of the ride that lends it's name to the event, the Cat & Fiddle pass. Not too steep, but more of a long steady climb, this roads winds its way out from Macclesfield up and over the spine of England. The weather ensured that the views were fantastic throughout, and the number of cyclists on the road meant that you always had someone to chase.

Cat & Fiddle
At the top!
From here it was downhill all the way surely. Er No! A long run off from the Cat and Fiddle, was followed by the undulating road from Buxton to Leek. Never flat, is was either crazy quick descents, or nasty climbs. A tough road for all.

It was then a short sharp return to the Rourke HQ, for tea and cake, all supplied by the Man who gives his name to the event. A big thanks to Brian!
Cat & Fiddle

The boring bits.

My ride stats - 84.6 kms in 3:22:25(riding time) at an average of 25.1km/h. I also managed to hit 69.1km/h on one of the downhill sections coming into Leek. Plenty quick enough for me!

All in all, a great day out.

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