Set off straight from work leaving my eskimo gloves in the rear pocket of my wind jacket and headed past the Velodrome and upto Ashton. If it was a Sunday I would have done Woodhead pass and gone up Holme Moss but I wasn't risking it. Wind was all over the show as usual and its a long slog up to Greenfield. I usually come back from Greenfield past Mossley and Stalybridge so tried to find the same road going up to them. I followed signs to Mossley and ended up on a long climb in the middle of nowhere. There was a pub called Hartshead Inn or something like that on the way and it was getting foggy, any higher and visibility would have been bad. I have never been on this road before, although not completely lost, its a little scary not know exactly where you are. I was going at a fair pace and found a great rhythm. At the end of this road I started to recognise where I was, just before Greenfield train station on Oldham rd which leads to Lees road.
I don't like Oldham too much as I find it difficult to navigate through due to dual carriage ways(no cyclists) and endless one way streets and no entry signs. I followed traffic and tried to follow signs for Oldham royal hospital but ended up on the wrong side of the dual carriage way again so had to do a long detour past OldhamWerneth train station and back up again to finally find the road with the hospital on. Went past Shaw and Newhey and saw some one kitted up in fancy pro gear and looked like they were up for a race, coming from the opposite direction, and headed up Huddersfield Rd. I thought I'd turn round and chase this person and see if I could have a little competition on the hills. I had originally planned to go to Hollingworth lake and Walsden. So I managed to catch up after 5 or so minutes and they turned off to a flat road in stead of going ahead to the nice steep bits :( I said hello and it turned out to be a cyclist from the fairer sex, bah just a poser. I turned around and went past Milnrow and Kiln Lane. I had debated with myself whether to hit Blackstone Edge or not. I chose not and went up Tod road and then up Bacup Rd. This hill seems to be getting harder and harder everytime I do it. Half way up I had to turn the lights on as visibility was virtually 3metres and saw cars miss sheep by inches. They could have swerved right into me if I didn't have the lights on!
Pain and lots of it, just glad I had my compact chainset on. By now I was feeling weary and dehydrated a little, just wondered how long I could continue. A steep descent to Bacup followed and I froze my backside off as the body cooled down due to lack of effort I could go a quick way home via Whitworth or carry on past Rawtestall. I chose the latter and enjoyed the couple of miles gentle descent until I got to the Firestation and it was all uphill to the top of Edenfield Rd. Seemed to take ages and every pedal stroke was a chore. After setting up my seatpost and saddle perfectly ( on Jamis) for the last ride I had to alter it again didn't I and I was experiencing lower back and neck pain. The torch on my helmet was weighing my head down and felt like a breeze block. My cadence dropped from an average of about 85 to 75 as I struggled but tried to squeeze the last ounces of energy out of my legs to maintain my reasonable average speed. I made it home and quickly headed to the fridge to drink as much as I could and for something salty or the body's cells cant take up the water and it just swills in the stomach. The day, in part, was glorious and in others damp and dark. A strange one. I saw a few roadies out and about and overtook a lot of mtb'ers. A few hours after the legs are ok so should be good for a ride Sunday morning too if I can sneak out.
Average speed 17mph dead
Average Cadence 78 :(
Distance just over 68 miles
Time just over 4hrs
Total Ascent 4700ft+