It was here I began a little game of cat and mouse with two groups of cyclists. They'd overtake me and then slow on a hill or at a gate or in the case of the second group when junior ran out of leg strength. The game kept me going most of the way to Brockholes and even stopped me diverting into the Spar in search of food.
The Wheel is quite varied in terms of the surface, surroundings and undulation. More than I like is tarmac but there are stetches of gravel, packed mud and even grass verge.
Brockholes was sunny and although the play area and cafe were busy I knew the more distant paths would be quiet. A good place to put in a 3 mile loop with the promise of the cafe if I really needed it. The ponds were covered in birds so it appears to have been a success both for wildlife and commerce. The cafe and other buildings are all on a floating pontoon and are starting to look less stark now.
It is quite peaceful despite being so close to the M6. Not just any stretch of M6 but the oldest bit of motorway in Britain! built as Preston by pass in 1958 - just a shame that the big plaque celebrating this it not very accessable on foot. Anyway I was making good time so texted Bob just in case he came looking for me. Only 4 miles of easy running to Avenham Park and the official start/ end of the Wheel now. I arrived feeling quite fresh so did a lap of the park - my first home in Preston was in an old Tower at the top of the park so I have fond memories of it.
I decided I needed liquid and had just paid for my pot of tea when Bob appeared on his bike. It was nice to have someone to chat to. He even offered to cycle slowly and pace me for a while but I knew this would tempt me to run too fast and I have more runs planned for this half term yet. I had obviously sat still for too long and felt a bit stiff as I set off back to the old tram way to add another little loop.
The tram way was built to link Preston and the Lancaster canal to the Leeds- Liverpool via the Walton spur. That completed it was off down the Ribble towards the docks, out to the Bulls Nose and then the long mile steadily uphill to home. You can see the whole mile stretching out and it is the only bit of the wheel next to a busy road and fumes. So to escape the fumes and not to be seen to be walking or plodding by motorists I always run this faster than I think possible. The Wheel is 21 miles but with my little loops I managed 28 altogether. Not bad for a day when I nearly turned back after 10 mins.