The Manchester 100 is a relatively flat ride that loops from Wythenshawe park through Cheshire. Last year I did it on a mountain bike and managed a time of 6hrs and 26m, averaging 15.7mph. This year I’d targeted a sub-6hr time which meant averaging at least 16.67mph.
There were a fair few from North Cheshire Clarion riding and we met at the start line at 7am. We’d already agreed we were going to go for it. We set off at a fair pace and pretty soon Anthony, Martin and I had dropped the other clarionista’s. Indeed we found ourselves somewhere near the very front of the ride (some 2000+ riders!). For a good 20 miles or so the three of us took turns on the front driving a strong pace in somewhat blustery conditions. It was somewhat surprising to find that there were a good 10 to 15 riders sitting on our back wheels – none of whom took a turn at the front. Charming.
Anthony and Martin were suffering a bit around 45 miles and I left them inadvertently once (slowing to wait for them) and we’d fallen back again and were struggling in the wind so I made a big effort to get on the back of a group a half mile or so ahead. Unfortunately I realised that I’d dropped them again but we weren’t far from the midway stop so I stuck behind a guy from Wigan Wheelers. It was at this point that one of the guys in the group decided to steer a perfect line through all the wet cow-muck outside a farm! We were moving quite quickly at this point. After a couple of miles I heard this shout go up and a massive Seamons train rolled by! As it went past I heard a familiar voice. “Come on Ade, keep up!” Anthony and Martin were stuck on the end. We stayed with Seamons until the “midway” stop at 55 miles – being one of the first groups to arrive there. Phil and Sarah arrived next, then Phil Rose, then Graeme, then Dawn.
After a bit of sustenance we set off again. Anthony, Martin and I piled it on again and continued like that until about 70 miles when Martin fell out the back. Sportingly he told us to push on and we met up again at the third stop at 80 miles, having passed Gareth on the way. Phil and Sarah joined us and we rolled out of the stop as a group.
At about 85 miles I was struggling and hanging on a bit. I think the pace we’d been setting meant I’d cocked up my nutrition as I hadn’t eaten much. I struggled to get an energy bar down and after a few miles started feeling better, but it had been a struggle to stay with Anthony – who had gotten over his earlier blip and was hammering out a strong pace.
The 100km ride had joined the route at this point, and traffic was getting busier so it was hard to keep a strong pace weaving in and out of the much slower riders and cars. Once out of Wilmslow it was the home stretch so we continued the pace flying past lots of riders. Turning into Wilmslow Park Anthony and I had our own Cav sprint finish and were neck and neck until we had to stop as an MTB-er weaved in front of us. We even got a North Cheshire announcement as we crossed the line from the Phoenix Nights-style compere!
The following shows my heart rate zones during the ride – it shows how hard I was working – most of the ride in zone 4 or 5 and an average of 149bpm.
Ride stats : 5hrs 25m, 100.91 miles, 18.6mph average, 1895ft ascent, 4782kcals used