|Grapenhall cobbles image by Giles Perkins.|
This morning, instead of the normal North Cheshire Clarion Saturday ride, Giles Perkins and I headed off on to the pavé and gravé of North Cheshire to test out the route for our first themed, longer Saturday ride. The idea is to occasionally add an additional challenge to the Saturday rides and this one will pay homage to Paris-Roubaix the day before the main event by riding a route which covers a range of unpaved roads.
The cobbled roads of Warrington have largely been tarmacked over now, but I counted four secteurs this morning (ranging from 10 to 250 metres in length). The Grapenhall cobbles pictured above are well known to North Cheshire Clarion Saturday riders from our 'D' route and are the most severe of the cobbles as they're round topped.
The real highlights of the route for me were the sections of unmade road before and after the cafe at Dunham Massey. Prior to the pit stop we travelled along the Transpennine trail, and it was great to be flying along at nearly 20mph on the unmade road with no worry about motorised traffic, although dog leads strung out across the trail and horses did warrant care.
|Transpennine trail by Anthony Parks.|
Silver Lane image by Brian Tuohey.
We'll be publishing the final route details and cue sheets in a few weeks. Hopefully we'll see loads of people at 09:30 at The Swan in Winwick on April the 9th for a celebration of The Hell of the North (Cheshire). Don't bring your carbon race wheels, and be prepared for a three-bucket bike wash when you get home.