The Vets Club Run
There's a strange phenomenon that happens every Wednesday.
Sometimes referred to as 'the vets club run', it is where a group of retired (or wish they were retired) cyclists set out for some distant lunch venue from Chelford. These runs are organised by ex-Abbot Pete Bell and this is the story of one cold and hilly day out with 'the Pete Bell irregulars'.
It may have been the first day of December but ten hardy souls braved the cold to turn up at Chelford, with the Abbotsford Park well represented with Neil King, Vince Lyons, Ian Clark and John Cieslik all keen as mustard. The usual Wednesday regulars Pete Bell and Derek Hodgins were unusually and unfortunately conspicuous by their absence, both temporarily taking time out. Regular Wednesday attendee and local time trial power-house Mike Cotgreave was, however, back in the group after his recent absence holidaying in Eastern Europe
The group headed South with much gusto from Chelford through the quiet lanes to pass Jodrell Bank and cross over the A535. Clark and Cotgreave took a long turn at the front all the way from Chelford, setting a brisk pace, taking the cyclists quickly onwards through Lower Withington towards the mountains in the distance.
By eleven O'Clock the cyclists had started the long climb towards Horton with 'The Cloud' rearing up to their left. The riders were breathing clouds of steam and all conversation stopped as the group climbed towards the summit. The ordeal took its victims as two of the riders, including our very own Vince Lyons called it a day and turned round, realising the foolishness of cycling up hills in December.
The remainder of the group pressed on, crossing over the main Macclesfield-Leek road (A523) at Rudyard and continued to the craggy rock formation that is the Roaches.
In stark contrast to the Sunday club runs, the roads and Cafe's are deserted during the midweek. Although this adds to the pleasure of midweek cycling, it also meant that the original choice for the lunch stop at the Roaches Garden centre was closed so the group climbed half a mile further up the hill to the Roaches tea rooms. At this stage, another member of the group, Martin Whyard decided to call it a day and headed straight home while the remaining seven riders, including the three remaining Abbots, stopped for lunch. The roaches tea rooms may not have been the first choice for lunch but on a quiet clear day the venue was superb, being high up in the hills with clear views down to the lake below.
The weather seemed far colder getting back on the bikes after sitting in the warm and enjoying a well-earned lunch. The gated road which hat-brims around the Roaches is a clear favourite for appreciating the views from such a vantage point on a clear day such as this. This road seemed much steeper than in the summer, and warmed the group quickly before they headed Northwards on their return journey.
The return route took in wildboarclough, with the steep climb up to Standing Stones marking the last major climb of the day. From this high point it was downhill all the way through Gawsworth and Siddington back to Chelford.
The ride covered a total of sixty-five miles from Chelford and with a total ascent of four thousand feet it certainly beats a day in the office.
Nearly back together at the bottom of the hill
All together and there's plenty of climbing yet to come between here and Chelford.