|An amazing turnout|
Cycling and challenges go hand in hand; undertaking the former leads us almost inevitably to the latter. It’s these personal challenges which keep things fresh, and without them life would be a whole lot duller.
This year’s challenge thrown down by the ladies section was, by comparison to our last two efforts, fairly straightforward. One ride, 100 miles, an imperial century; simple enough to say, but even having ridden a number of imperial tons, it’s still a fair achievement.
With the date set, and the route designed to take in many of the roads which make cycling in Shropshire so special, the challenge was on. I knew we had half a dozen or so definites, but I really had no idea just how many would turn up on the day.
The day of the challenge dawned, and as I rolled down to No5 with @ASL191 and @TF2109, it looked like the weather was going to be kind to us as well. A little windy perhaps, but more importantly, dry and bright. As pre-ride espresso was consumed, riders kept arriving. Ten and counting and still more were turning up for the challenge. As we lined up for the group pre ride shot we had 17 riders. Just amazing, and a testament to just how far we’ve come.
As the saying goes, you can’t eat an elephant in one meal, and with this in mind I’d split the route up into manageable chunks interspersed with coffee and cake stops. Our first stop was another of our favourite coffee shop, the excellent Jones’ in Market Drayton. They handled the influx of cyclists admirably, and in no time at all, coffee, tea, and cake was served. Refuelled, it was time to get back on the bikes; we still had some way to go.
Spirits were high amongst the group and our progress was good. New acquaintances were made, and old ones renewed as we passed through Woore and Audlem and towards Lunch in Nantwich. We even ended up with a brass band playing to us as we had lunch in the sun.
With a total of 1700 miles being covered by the group, punctures are an inevitability, and sure enough we suffered our first. Fixed in double quick time, a second was quickly followed by a third. This was getting silly! Fortunately though this was to be out final mechanical issue of the day, and we were soon back on track.
Our final scheduled stop of the afternoon was Wem, and another favourite watering hole of ours, Joules’ Castle Hotel. #MaltedRecoveryBeverageConsumption completed, we were on our final leg. Shawbury passed, closely followed by Edgmond and Newport.
The Imperial Century mark was passed just as we passed under the M54 on the final sprint into town, but that didn’t stop some from doing a lap of the town. Just to be sure you understand ;¬)
With a post ride curry planned for the evening, the was only time for a very swift one in HQ. The mood was buoyant and it was fair to say that the challenge had been well and truly #Smashed. A massive thankyou to everyone who made this such a great day on the bikes!
So, what’s next? The bar has been set high…..
Vive la Velo