Have you heard of TayBarn? Neither had we. Well, if you see one, my advice is stay clear! We were staying in a Premier Inn last night, which was excellent, and it had one of these TayBarns next door, which seemed a sensible place to eat. Well let me tell you, the clue is in the name Tay*BARN* – it really was like a livestock feeding frenzy. You pay your money, you get a plate and the rest is up to you – and we are talking a LOT of food selections here: pizza, roast dinners, fish and chips, pasta, salads, grilled, Chinese, the list goes on. The customer goes up to the counter, fills their plate, sits down, eats it, goes up again, and does the same ad infinitum. I have never seen a higher density of skinheads and extremely overweight people (no disrespect you understand) in one place, eating so much. The food, as it happened, was very good, and I guess for me it was a perfect scenario, but it just seemed wrong in so many ways. The desserts were the same format – 10 or more to choose from, and some people were literally just taking one of each. Shocker. And there were children running around everywhere at great speed, high on the unlimited coke refills and ice cream. Anyway, this blog is supposed to be about cycling, so I’ll move swiftly on.
After a hearty breakfast I headed out once more – my life is turning into a cycling groundhog day: eat, cycle, eat, cycle, eat, sleep and the day starts again. However, there was one very distinct difference on this particular day, as my legs actually felt a little *better* than the day before, instead of worse. This was particularly surprising given how hard I had pushed it whilst cycling with Thorpe yesterday. Despite a wet start, I seemed to float along with very little effort (perhaps my TayBarn experience was paying off). This was the life – the sun had come out, the route was completely flat and the world seemed like a better place. Stopping to text Mrs W with my ETA I realised that I was much nearer to Congleton than I had expected. Knowing that Mrs W was on her way to a hot date with Mr Darcy at his house (well mansion in fact), I felt it would be unfair to cut her trip short, so I stuck with the time we had previously planned.
Being a Sunday, there were plenty of people out on their Sunday rides, and this presented many opportunities to engage RacePace. However, I must confess, for the first time in 8 days I was convincingly overtaken by another cyclist! Well, only for a minute – I passed him again as he was putting on his jacket, and kept him at bay for around 5 miles. Then he overtook me once more by running a red light. Now, frankly, if you are not going to play by the rules then it doesn’t count, so I let that one go. Later on the approach to Congleton another cyclist passed me on his Ultegra equipped Trek as I was taking it easy. I stepped up a gear and drafted behind him for a while (luckily he didn’t notice). We slowly caught up another two cyclists who were in full team colours and sponsored to the max. As he overtook them I raced past him and kept up the pace for another few miles until they faded into the distance. I would apologise for describing my RacePace actions in such detail, but sometimes on a journey as long as this these moments are genuinely the most interesting!
I arrived at Congleton two hours earlier than planned and what happened next has convinced Mrs W that I finally have gone completely mad. I decided, since it was a fine day, that I would go for a little cycle. After all, what else was I going to do for a couple of hours with a bike? I figured that if I did a loop of around 10 – 15 miles then the whole day’s length should top a century and I guess that’s how I rationalised it in my mind. I set off in pursuit of another two racing cyclists and after passing them just kept going. Despite the entire first part of the day being extremely flat, I somehow managed to find the biggest hills in Cheshire – perversely it was a nice change and took me to some great viewpoints over the levels. I wound through the small roads back to Congleton and Tasha arrived shortly after. On the way I passed Smiths Tackle (!) shop which was next to Reuben’s Bistro! Impressive coincidence!
After the usual goodies, I set off again, striking a relaxed pace over the flat roads of Cheshire. Again passing over the M6 (this has happened a lot over the last few days) the road headed to Crewe. Cheshire soon turned into Shropshire but the roads stayed flat and fast. My legs were tiring and soon a ‘body STOP’ moment occurred. I sat at the side of an A road eating a selection of fastics and fig rolls. Slowly continuing on my way, I rolled towards Shrewsbury where we were staying with friends for the night. Finally completing the journey, I was met at the door by Pete and Nina and the day was complete. A huge meal of pasta and a great dessert later I handed over the Lego men to my hosts for them to take over the show. This was the result:
And thus ends another stream of consciousness from ReubiMax. Distance today: 103 miles, total so far 739 miles. Here is the route and photos: