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Cheshire Cat ride reports!

AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
Well, I have been stuck at home with my poorly leg on the nicest day of the year so far. I should have been out with you lot but I will have to live my life through your storytelling!

Please post your ride reports here, all the gory details!


  • MettanMettan Posts: 2,103
    edited March 2009
    66 miler (over 70 with early signage loss) - 5500 ft - provisional sub-5 hour ride. Group of us got lost near the start - missed an early turning to Lower Peover - ended up in Holmes Chapel - didn't know where we were or were to go - ended up going towards Middlewich then some other riders said the direction was back to Holmes Chapel - went back to Holmes Chapel - eventually got the right directions to head to Middlewich, cross the Motorway and turn left for Brereton road - lost about 15-20 minutes time and done some extra miles. 1st feedstop well stocked (energy drink, even had dohnuts), then off to Mow Cop - long steep drag up, lots of people walking - too many people using too bigger gear - I was on 34/32 and found it manageable/comfortable - steep bit by the Pub at the top, again 34/32 out the saddle at 3 mph no wavering just straight up vertically (found it more comfortable than the initial long drag......) - one of the Marshalls grinned and said "you've got your Mow Cop medal" (and I did) - tons of people walking at that point. Personally, I wouldn't want to use 34/27 on it - it can be done on fresh legs of course, but 34/32 was easier. Generally, alot of steep climbs throughout, 4 or 5 seemed to be around 17-23 % ish - too many people walking (one or two falling off to the side), too many people using too bigger gears - I did the 4 or 5 really steep ones at literally 1-3 mph (mostly seated), but got up them all without touching the ground - (Swiss Hill was the only one that got me (got everyone that I was with)- again, steep, but with wet mossy cobbles - no traction, not nice) - 2nd feedstop was extremely well-stocked, bananas, sausage rolls, easy toilet access - the descents were exihilarating - one guy called out 46.2 mph from his GPS on one of the descents - a variety of descents well over 40 mph - great fun, ice cold forehead though. All in all, a good day - good people - and a new-found respect for people that polish off 10,000 ft 's for fun - and the Dave Lloyd at 16,000 ft seems insane. Low wind throughout the early/mid ride, bit of a mild headwind picked up on the run-in to Knutsford. Knee injury's killing me - considerable pain - battled throughout the ride with it - sitting hear with yet more paracetemol/ibuprofen.
  • elffyelffy Posts: 98
    Todays Cheshire Cat was my first attempt at a sportive and I can safely say it wont be my last. With it being my first attempt ,myself and friend decided to do the 37 miles since it is early on in the year and since we have only had limited training time. We enjoyed it that much, or was it due to the fact we got slightly lost and ended up cycling part of the Wilmslow half marathon route to get us back into Knutsford that we eventually completed 40 miles once we returned to the finish. Our time for the 37 miles (part of which was on our own route) was 1hr 57 mins but we eventually got back on the official route and finished completing exactly 40 miles in unofficially 2hrs 7 mins. With it being our first attempt it would of been nice to complete the proper 37 miles in a time we could compare with the others but all in all it was excellent occasion in excellent weather.

    Hope you are soon riding again and see you next year on the cat.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    edited March 2009
    It was a good ride.

    The gell packs gave me alot more enrgy and I was managing to power up some hills at 14+mph where other people was doing 10!, some I managed to get up on my big ring (50), I am happy to say I never had to stop on any hills at all, allthough there was alot of little stops, waiting for people I was cycling with. Up mow cop I managed to get up on like a 34front and probs 24 on the back for most of it, the main 25% section though I was in my 34/26 gears and found it odly easy compared to last time, thats probs due to the high 5 and gel bars, must have been doing a fair pace up managed to overtake alot of people. I went back down one of the climbs and someone told me it's that way, as in the oposite way... well obviously I knew which way I was going, just going down to see if I could fine the people I was with, could not, so went to food stop and waited for them, where I filled up on another bottle of high 5. Swiss Hill was fun, about dodgy due to those cobbles though but not really that bad.

    I hope to be doing the 102 ride next year if I can manage to sign up.

    I think on Wednesday I'm going to re run this 66miler, but it'll be 100 for me as I ride from city center.
  • Marko1962Marko1962 Posts: 320
    Did the 66 miller, at some points, many points if I was to be honest, all I was thinking was NEVER AGAIN!!!, I was disappointed with myself, walked up Mow Cop and macclesfield Forrest and a couple of other places, but never got lost owing to the fact that me and a pal reccied the ride out a couple of weeks ago so knew where we were going. My ride time was 4:40 according to my bike computer but overall was 6:17, an hour and 40 min stoppage time :shock: something to improve on the next time even though I vowed I would never ever put myself through that torture again....

    The best part for me was the 20 mile run in home after Swiss Hill, 20 miles in a small group with speeds between 20-25 mph. The route signs were mostly OK except for the first right hand turn off the first main road we came too, didn't see it... No water at the first feed station but apart from that it was well organised. Disappointed there was no certificate of completion at the end...

    All in all it was an enjoyable event, the weather was great, the descents were scarry at times esp the one at Lamaload (sp) were I was on the brakes all the way down (NapoleonD's broken leg was constantly on my mind).

    What have I learned from my first sportive? I'm not as fit as I need to be for an event such as this and I took far too much food with me, my pockets were bulging with the stuff.

    Looking forward to next year

  • SBezzaSBezza Posts: 2,173
    Did the 102m ride, weather was a bit cold at the start, but had warmed up very nicely by the first feed station, so took my leg warmers off, and made the most of the sun.

    The first 50 miles was relatively flat, a few rollers but nothing to worry about, after 50 miles the hills started arriving, and at around 60 miles was Mow Cop, overtook quite a few on the hill, mainly by going straight up, rather than weaving to and fro across the rode (it only makes it longer), glad to get to the top, and was good to have people egging you on, got up on 34/25.

    The run across to Macclesfield Forest was nice, up and down all the way, but some really nice climbs. The climb through Macc Forest was a bit of a toughy after 80 miles (even saw Howie on the hill, but was too out of breath to say hello), and the run back down was fast and hairy to say the least ( I can see why Nap had a big one here), once past the reservoir, it was a fairly easy run to Swiss Hill, although by this time was getting cramp in one leg, and the other was quite painful behind the knee.

    Swiss Hill was a right hoot, few wheelspin moments, and was made a little more difficult by a car trying to come down, whilst riding past walking riders, though give the car driver his due, he did wait patiently for us to pass. I am glad we went up it, and not down it, I know it was cobbled, but that was very rough cobbles, with a few holes.

    Run back to Knutsford, seem to go on for ages, though at least it was flat, overall a fantastic day, and wonderful weather as well. Legs are starting to get a bit of colour now.

    Did the 102 miles in 6:25, so well chuffed to get under 7 hours, and wasn't even really aiming for a fast time.
  • pdstsppdstsp Posts: 1,264
    Did the 66 miler but suffered from cramp quite badly in the second half. I've hardly done any hills since November and I think that my thigh muscles in my right leg objected to the sudden re-introduction. Had to step off on the climb from Macc Forest and one of the others whose name I don't know. censored time but loved the event - very friendly and lots of black humour - and at least now I know exactly how much work there is to do!!

    I also though the organisation seemed very good.

  • cacbynamecacbyname Posts: 285
    My third year of doing the Cheshire Cat and the first time I didn't get lost/go off-route. I thought the signposting was excellent throughout, not having farmers remove the signs the night before must have helped!
    I did the 102mile ride, the route was of course much harder than previously but it is still one of the easier sportives which I think is a good thing for this time of year.
    The weather was excellent although chilly at the start - amazed to still see some ice on the road after midday around Macc Forest. There were also a lot of cars around there that had trouble passing each other - put my foot down a few times as a result and had to wait. I guess the first bit of nice weather meant the walkers were out in droves.
    Managed to get round in just over 6 hours, maybe could have just crept under on another day but my legs weren't on my side after Alderley Edge.
  • Marko1962Marko1962 Posts: 320
    SBezza wrote:
    Did the 102 miles in 6:25, so well chuffed to get under 7 hours, and wasn't even really aiming for a fast time.

    If thats total time then well bloody done!!! if its actual ride time then well done also :wink:
  • SBezzaSBezza Posts: 2,173
    That is the total time, as recorded by KilotoGo. Not sure what my actual ride time is, but it won't be much different, as I didn't stop for long at each feed stop.
  • JoeBHJoeBH Posts: 63
    edited March 2009
    Well done all :D 102 miler for me.

    I had a bit of a nightmare! I was stuck with 39-25 which is massively overgeared for a skinny spinner like me. Made it up Mow Cop but unbelievably slowly (one of the kids shouted "get a move on!" at me :lol: )
    Swiss Hill got me, but only due to falling off. A car was coming down and forced me into the rough edge area, I almost fell in his window :lol: He was nice about it though. Couldn't get started again until the flat middle section, despite a walking cyclist trying to help!
    I got my feed strategy all wrong and started bonking after Macclesfield forest. After Swiss hill I totally hit the wall and couldn't get above about 8-10 miles an hour. It was weird as my legs weren't aching and had plenty of power, I just didn't have the energy to keep them spinning. All light headed and shakey, not good :(
    I did the ride in around seven hours but clocked over 140 miles on the day as I rode to the start and back from Crewe :evil:
    Glad the weather held out or I would probably be still out there (or collapsed in a ditch somewhere) :lol:
  • lfcquinlfcquin Posts: 470
    Set out to ride the 66 miler. Was talking to some club mates and missed the turn off. Ended up doing the full 102, which was interesting because I hadn't trainied for that. Finished in 6.25 though so I was pleased with that.

    I got in a group in the first (flat) half who were caining round. Managed to tuck in and stick with them all the way to the Blue Bell food stop. All broke up then but stayed with some Macc Wheelers (for NapoleonD, It was Jamie - who by the way is a climbing demon!, Andy H and a chap called James who I hadn't met before). Stayed with them all the way to Bollington where we got split by some lights.

    Swiss Hill was interesting. It is probably the hardest hill I have ever climbed on my road bike. Just because of the gradient, the cobbles and the time in the ride it hit me. Didn't stop though! Made it too the top and then suffered like crazy all the way back to Knutsford.

    Good advice with the bike Alex, I wouldn;t have made it over the climbs on the 42-25. I needed the compact.

    Here is my ride summary...

    Can't move now.

  • sean1sean1 Posts: 7
    Did the 66 miler,great ride ,39-27 did not get me up mow cop or swiss hill.Great to see so many cyclists out,beautiful scenery.
    Respect to any one that bagged the double and everyone that did the 102 .
  • Great ride, really challenging. 102 here, struggled badly with cramp in the second half and only managed 6:48. Disappointed but happy to have been out for so long on such a great day. Mow Cop was great fun, in a sadistic kind of way :)
    Quite surprised by the ice on the Macc Forest climb though!
    Hope everyone had a good one. Great to see so many people out on bikes. Great to cross the finish line and see lots of people recovering in the sunshine :)
  • 102 miles. A ride of 2 halves. Caned it round the first 50 or so miles in a big group averaging 20 + mph (great fun).

    Hit the hills and it all slowed down. Got up everything on a 34/27. But was having to take it fairly steady (the first half taking its toll, I suppose).

    7.24 which was OK for an 40 something this early on in the season.

    Signing excellent as were the food stops. Food (savoury) at the end might have been nice. Fantastic weather and scenery. Some big posh houses. Much tougher than previous year's course according to the lads who had done it before.

    Well done everyone who completed ride today.

    The sofa is calling me.
  • poucherpoucher Posts: 102
    Did the 66 miler, this one was a lot tougher than last years with the addition of Mow Cop, a different climb into Macc Forest, and those looney cobbles at Swiss hill :shock:

    Stopped twice, once to fix my bottle cage which had undone itself and the rattling was driving me nuts! :twisted: and once at the last feed stop for a sausage roll or three!
    Managed to drag my old feeble carcass around in 5:09, a lot slower than last year, probably due to the amount of climbing this time.

    Bawled and shouted a hello to Howie D at the bottom of the climb up to Mow Cop, he didn't look too comfy with the climb ( who was?? )
    Great day out though, suprised at the icy road on the Macc Forest climb, but the sunshine made up for everything.
    I've just had a Lush cottage pie with green beans followed with apple crumble and cream, so I feel vaguely human again :D:D


    Poucher :wink:
  • whyamiherewhyamihere Posts: 7,548
    edited March 2009
    102 miles, 7:38 total time. I took a wrong turning once and added on a few extra miles, adding on about 20 minutes as I had to stop and ask directions a couple of times. 39/26, I was well overgeared. Annoyingly, I was able to overtake almost everyone on the uphills, until the road reached a certain steepness where I just couldn't manage it any more and had to stop. Had to walk on Mow Cop, Macc Forest and one other.
    I also realised just how bad I am at descending in unknown areas. I was on the brakes permanently, top speed of around 35, because I didn't have the confidence that the bike would get round the corners.

    EDIT: I didn't do Swiss Hill either. Due to my bad joints, my wrists would have probably dislocated if I'd tried riding on cobbles.
  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    whyamihere wrote:
    Annoyingly, I was able to overtake almost everyone on the uphills, until the road reached a certain steepness where I just couldn't manage it any more and had to stop.

    I know just how you feel :wink:
    I like bikes...

  • le_patronle_patron Posts: 491
    6.20 for was much harder than previous years, in the past there was not much going on after Mow Cop and I felt fine on it today, but the new route just kept on stinging the legs. 2000 metres of climbing apparently but felt like more.

    The Macc Forest climb is pretty darn steep and good job the wind was low up near the Cat & Fiddle road. There were many walkers on several climbs....I think the event might have caught a few off-guard (almost me too).

    The queues at registration were a new pain, but riding Swiss Hill was fun, very much like Flandrian climbs (good practise for next weekend) and perfect weather really.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    Sounds like good fun was had!

    I'm insanely jealous though...

    Keep 'em comin' folks!
  • JoeBHJoeBH Posts: 63
    whyamihere wrote:
    39/26, I was well overgeared. Annoyingly, I was able to overtake almost everyone on the uphills, until the road reached a certain steepness where I just couldn't manage it any more and had to stop. Had to walk on Mow Cop, Macc Forest and one other.
    Feel your pain :(
    Once you reach a certain steepness, especially with miles in the legs, it's pure pain! I made it up Mow Cop on 39-25 but I probably would have been quicker walking! Must have looked hillarious weaving up there in with a cadence of about 10 :lol:
    Hope they got a good photo!
  • ElganeshElganesh Posts: 143
    102 miles for me and considering it was my first I completed it in 7:23. TBH I was a little disappointed I didn't get below the 7 hour mark, probably because I spent too much time yakking at the feedstops.

    I had a 34:25 on and managed to get up all the climbs, even overtaking a few peeps. My legs were burning going up the steep bit of Mow Cop. The marshall told me to watch out for gravel on the right although I was hurting that much I think if I'd tried to zig zag up I'd have fallen off.

    Macc Forest was interesting especially the ice near the top that I narrowly missed. After the last feedstop I pushed hard linking up with a large group to help me along. I was constantly waiting for the Swiss Hill climb and when it finally appeared I thought I'd better let the others go in front in case I came off. I turned left up the hill, hit the cobbles and everybody was walking in front of me! Cue much swerving and miraculously managing to stay on the bike, I pushed on up, almost hitting a few potholes when a car came down the hill. I finally got to the top and had to adjust the way I dressed after I'd taken a beating in the nether regions from my saddle!

    The last few miles were neverending and I passed some poor soul fixing a puncture only a few miles from the finish. How annoyed must he be!
    FCN = 4.5 Roadie, hairy legs, half a beard (say goateeeeee!)
  • ElganeshElganesh Posts: 143
    whyamihere wrote:
    I also realised just how bad I am at descending in unknown areas. I was on the brakes permanently, top speed of around 35, because I didn't have the confidence that the bike would get round the corners.

    I can sympathise with that. I was much the same. When the photographer was taking pictures of the descending he got one of me wide-eyed and scared s***less!
    FCN = 4.5 Roadie, hairy legs, half a beard (say goateeeeee!)
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    Better to be going slowler, wide-eyed, scared sh*tless with brakes on full than sat at home with your leg up having just been pinned back together!!!
  • pugwashcppugwashcp Posts: 120
    First half was a full tilt blast through flat lanes.

    Second half was a succession of rediculously painful climbs......cleared them all :D

    Finished 102 miles in just over 8hr 30mins which probably equates to about 8hrs riding time. Not entirely sure though because my sodding computer packed in within 200 yards of the start.

    Can't type any more.....everything hurts too much. :?
    He who dies with the most toys wins!
  • MefsterMefster Posts: 54
    First sportive for me in the UK (3 weeks after my first sportive ever- a last minute entry for the Argus Cyle Tour in Cape Town).

    Opted for the 66 miler; was tempted to go for the 102 mile route but in hindsight I definately made the right decision.

    Had an eventful run. 5 of us riding: 3 doing the 101 and 2 of us the 66. Started badly when the rest of the group 'accidentally' started whilst I was having a pre-ride leak! So a slightly frantic start to catch up the group who were riding slowly to let me catch up. I think everyone was wondering why I went off the start like the clappers!

    Quite cold for the first ride, split at Middlewich from the 102 milers. Managed Mow Cop but then spent 30 mins waiting at the top for my buddie who'd dropped a chain lower down. After I riding back down towards the Cheshire View I decided we must have missed each other so cracked on.

    At this point my bike developed a severe 'ghost' shift when pedalling under load. Several stops to fiddle with barrel adjusters didn't help. Got to the stage where I could only use 4 from 10 gears on the cassette. The service car stopped and had a look, decided the chain was the most likely cause. Their diagnosis was confirmed when my chain snapped on a short sharp out of the saddle climb up from Danebridge about 55km in. Manage to wrap it between the cassette and spokes and had to spend 30 minutes untangling and take 4 links out. Chain was only 300 miles old!

    Fortunately, the new 'lighter' chain solved my shifting woes. Managed to get around the rest of the route unscathed. Climb up from Macc Forest was tough, with the added excitement of black ice near the top! Started feeling a little cramp coming on Was thinking of ducking out of Swiss Hill, but as I was back on home territory and knew the end was imminent I thought I'd give it a bash. Slightly baulked at the bottom by a group stopped, dithering as what to do. Couldn't take as much speed into it as i'd have liked. Got halfway up, (avoiding the Range Rover coming down!) but terminal wheelspin meant I had to stop half way. At least I made it past the photographer! Got started again where the cobbles flatten. First time I've not cleared it but it was much greasier than on practice runs. Was the only climb I didn't manage with a 34-25.

    Finished in about 6 hours. With an hour waiting/repairing I think it wasn't too bad. The Peak climbs made the Argus look easy!

    Definately back next year- maybe the 102km route.
  • elevatedelevated Posts: 126
    I managed to wander "off piste" several times, including within a group that had no less than two Garmins in it (but the owners didn't pay for the maps so no sat nav...)

    Did 125 miles in total in 8hrs 30, some slow going as I was chatting to people in groups. I may repeat the route on my own and see how I do.

    34:25 which was almost ok - had to stop once on Mow Cop and once for the Macc Forest one (which I managed non-stop last week), plus a couple of times on Swiss Hill (although I'd done 110 miles at this point).
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  • CraytonCrayton Posts: 8
    Mow Cop Hill Climb Images, well done to everyone who rode the event.
    Did you make it up
  • gumball3000gumball3000 Posts: 14
    edited March 2009
    Went off in the first group and 7 of us managed to get a good group going which got us to the start of the climbs with an 18.5 average. Was the only one in the group with a Compact chainset, so I took a straight line up Mow Cop with no real issues, apart from bulging eyes and a slightly increased heart rate! Three of us went clear after Mow Cop and one then got away. I tried to catch him on a decent and had a run in with a hedge. Just a few scratches and no bike damage.

    Managed to charge round the rest on my own and finished with 105 miles (Sure I didn't go wrong, might be a Garmin thing) in 6hrs and 9. Said Hello to Howie, but didn't see Poppette! :( Was wearing Giant team kit if anyone remembers me!

    One thing sort of bugged me though. I went off in the first group, Got dropped by one rider and passed by 2 others (A Star Wheeler and an Army CC rider) and no one else passed me for the whole day. Was amazed to find quite a few people that had finished the 102 and arrived at the finish before me. They certainly didn't get past me. I suggest shortcuts!!! :evil:

    Otherwise, well organised, signed and well thought out route. Swiss Hill was a bit pointless, if I am honest, but at least I can say I have done it!

    And I got my picture taken! Hope you don't mind me linking Rob!

  • SBezzaSBezza Posts: 2,173
    I had 105 miles as well. Perhaps some of the riders that finished in front of you did not stop at the feed stations, don't forget the one before Mow Cop, equalled 2 miles off the route, so plenty could have just carried on.
  • whyamiherewhyamihere Posts: 7,548
    Oh yes, I did see Howie and Poppette before they started, but I was desperate for a wee so legged it into the leisure centre before saying hello, then they'd gone when I got out... Met lastpubrunner a few times though...
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