The day had finally arrived! All this cycling has been in preparation for The Tour of the Roaches sportive. Starting out on the Cheshire Plain and then heading up into the hills and around the Roaches (of course). I had chosen to do the "Giant Roach" which was a mighty 103 miles long - I haven't ridden 100 miles for over 15 years so I was a bit dubious of how it was going to go. Ruth more sensibly opted for the 75 mile route "Big Roach" but then she's never cycled 100 miles!
It was an early start to the day getting up at 6 to get started on the road about 8 for me and nearer 9 for Ruth. We registered and got our goody bags handed over along with the vouchers for a Chorley Cake at the beginning and a Pie voucher as a reward at the end.
As I set off the heavy cloud turned to rain, I was not looking forward to 7 hours of getting wet (would be a bit like going to work!), luckily it soon stopped and left some strong wind instead. I had expected to be riding in groups and get towed along but within the first 5 miles I found myself pedalling along on my own, it was to remain like this for the majority of the day, I only rode with another chap for a while and proceeded to go the wrong way!! Which addded a few miles onto the torturous 103. The course was supplied with a couple of feed stations and was well sign-posted ( well most of the time apart from where I went wrong - maybe that was my own fault for not looking enough?) The hardest section of the ride happened to be around where I often ride which was of great benefit with tired legs as I knew what was ahead - Ruth took the excuse to get off at that point for a little walk - knowing it wasn't going to stop going up hill anytime soon!
I arrived back to the start about 5 minutes after Ruth - which was good timing as she had the van keys. We collected out Tour of the Roaches mugs and scoffed as much pie, cake and recovery drink as possible whilst watching the end of the Giro d'Italia on the big screen in the Rugby Club - can't imagine what the locals were thinking surrounded by so much lycra!
Before we set off and with our history of rubbish backs, we decided to try out a "warm plaster" - which came from the Pound Shop.
As you can see I went for a lower back and shoulder combo and within 20 minutes of slapping them on and getting moving we both realised that they should be called "bloody boiling plasters". I expected it to last for maybe a couple of hours and then go cool, but not a chance 8 hours later after the ride and sitting around and driving home they were still really hot. Very impressive! I am sending Ruth off back to Poundland for some more ASAP!
So anyway - the official times for our rides were :
Andy 103 miles - 6hours 54mins
Ruth 75 miles - 6hours 13mins
Now these sort of rides are not supposed to be competitions - but obviously there is definitely some "friendly competition" involved, so looking at the end results it looked like I made it into the top 10 and Ruth came home second fastest girl - not bad for a couple of "bloody boiling plaster" wearing climbers.