Saturday 6 August 2022: The One from Liverpool to Burton
Miles: 101.12 Total Mileage: 2236.95
When planning any ride you rely on hope. You hope the trains run ok. You hope the weather is kind. You hope your route is ok. You hope the hotel received your booking and finally, you hope the ride goes smoothly.
We caught the 10:52 from Burton, changed at Tamworth and headed for Crewe. Due to train crew issues on the Avanti West Line, some trains were delayed, full or cancelled altogether, but fortunately ours was ok and we arrived in Liverpool around 1.30pm. After giving John a brief tour of the city we headed up to our hotel in Orrell. We used the cycle paths and I have to say they are some of the best I have cycled on.
Saturday morning I woke up around 4.50am and got ready for the 100 mile ride back to the Pirelli Stadium. We left the Orrell Park Hotel (which I can thoroughly recommend) at 05:38.
The streets were relatively empty as we cycled to our first stop, the home of Liverpool FC, Anfield. It also resulted in a diversion as work on the Anfield Road stand has begun, so we had to circumnavigate the stadium to get back on track. I visited Melissa’s memorial stone which is situated almost directly opposite the Hillsborough memorial. John and I took a few photographs and we were on our way to Goodison Park.
Within 5 minutes we were cycling along the narrow streets that envelope Goodison Park. I love the way the ground is built in to the streets, the houses in arms reach of the stadium. The story of the club is painted on the walls of the stadium and ride around the ground takes you from the 1800s through to the present day. After a few more photographs we then headed for the future and Everton’s new ground at Bramley Moore Dock.
Everton’s new ground is on the banks of the Mersey and is progressing well. I was surprised that the seating terraces had begun to be erected. I look forward to visiting again next year to see further progress.
After looking through the gates at Bramley Moore we then got back on our bikes and followed the line of the Mersey all the way to the bridge at Widnes that took us over the Mersey to Runcorn. They have added a cycle path to the bridge and that made it a lot easier to cross over. From Runcorn we weaved out of the town and into the countryside, passing Preston Brook. If you’ve ever walked the Trent and Mersey Canal you often see milestones with the distance to Preston Brook written on them.
We stopped off at Holmes Chapel for a sausage batch (we were in batch country, not yet baps) and an egg custard! We also topped up with water. Holmes Chapel was the halfway point of the ride. From Holmes Chapel the temperature rose and so did the terrain. Over the next 20 miles or so we hit some good hills that showed on the Garmin 17%, 16% and 15% on many occasions. We then cycled along the top of Staffordshire Moorlands and encountered som amazing views. Eventually we freewheeled in to Tean and from then on it was relatively flat.
We arrived in Tutbury at around 2pm and stopped for a drink and a slice of cake. We then took a steady ride to the Pirelli where I was surprised and so happy to see my grandson. We were greeted by John Widdowson of the Burton Albion Community Trust who took us into the ground. At half time I was interviewed on the pitch where an hour earlier, the Burton players had been doing their warm up in St Giles Hospice t-shirts as volunteers and staff did a bucket collection.
After my interview, I carried my grandson around the pitch with me on a lap of honour, where I was also joined by John, who rode the 101 miles alongside me. After our lap of honour we said our thanks and goodbyes and headed home.
Despite having cycled over 100 miles and climbed some amazing hills, viewed some stunning countryside and encountered a brilliant welcome at the Pirelli, I felt pretty good. The legs were pleasantly achy. 101.12 miles. 7 hours 12 minutes, 1.255 metres of climbing and 8,047 calories burned. Thank you to everyone who donated to the bucket collection and thank you also to those people who have donated via my Just Giving page. You a making a difference to people’s lives.
So, in conclusion, definitely a nicer route than when I did it last time, but also harder. Some cracking hills and views. A brilliant welcome at the Pirelli as always. All in all, a great ride. Everything I had hoped for.
My 60260 cycle challenge is in memory of my daughter Melissa, who died in May 2008 from non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The challenge is in aid of St Giles Hospice who were a part of the care given to Mel at end of life and who supported me with my grief.
For more information and to donate please visit http://www.justgiving.com/60260
Today’s blog title is taken from the song You’ll Never Walk Alone by Gerry and the Pacemakers