This year I’ve been looking at riding audaxes more than sportives because, frankly, you get just as good an experience for a fraction of the price. For example whilst many of my clubmates had spent a small fortune to ride the Cheshire Cat, I’d spent a fiver to ride a 200k audax on many of the same roads. I do, however, make exceptions. Last year I rode the Macc Monster sportive which was brilliant. The Peak 100 is by the same guys so I was looking forward to this one. And what’s better is the money goes to charity – specifically KidsCan, a charity for children with cancer. So I’m happy to part with £25 on that basis alone. However, when I signed in I received a High 5 bottle will a couple of gels and a couple of powders in it. The main feed station had malt loaf, bananas, cereal bars, chocolate biscuits, powerade and water. About 15 miles from the end two nice ladies in KidsCan t-shirts were flagging down cyclists with more gels, powders, choccy biscuits and water. To cap it all, at the end there was a voucher for a steak sandwich/bacon butty/chips and a drink. Absolutely brilliant value I think you’ll agree.
The route left the HQ in Macclesfield and was essentially two big loops – going through Langley, the Macclesfield Forest, Cleulow Cross, Bosley, Key Green, Timbersbrook, Gillow Heath, Mow Cop, Knypersley, Lask Edge, Rudyard, Rushton Spencer, Bosley Minn, Allgreave, Flash, Longnor, Crowdecote, Glutton Bridge, Axe Edge, Cat n’ Fiddle and back. The scenery was absolutely fantastic – great climbs rewarded by fast and exhilarating descents – maximum speed today just under 41mph. Yet another great route and superbly signed throughout – although the provided GPX was turn-perfect too. The only (masochistic) disappointment about the day was the advertised climb of Mow Cop. Well, it went near Mow Cop but it wasn’t the Mow Cop that everyone knows.
The weather was absolutely beautiful. Shorts and shirt-sleeves for the first time this year and I was still overheating on the bigger hills!
The ride is advertised at 7000ft of climbing although the Garmin suggested it was only (!) 5978ft. The Garmin also developed a new trick today – at 30mph it suddenly decided I was doing 0mph and auto-paused. Only a reboot brought it back to life!
There was some serious climbing on this ride. As we left HQ in a big group I knew that the hills would start to thin it out fairly quickly and so they did with 6 miles of climbing from the off. I managed to keep in touch with the leading riders, generally finding that they pulled away from me on the flat but I got back on up the hills. I felt pretty strong most of the way round. On one particularly long climb I got into a fantastic rhythm which saw me just spinning along at 80rpm and reeling in rider after rider as they all started flagging. Feeling pretty good about myself one of the guys in a Peak Cycles jersey went past me like a train, followed closely by his mate; a timely reminder there are always bigger fish in the sea!
The finish joined the Cat n’ Fiddle just before the pub and then followed the road down into Macclesfield. That was a great blast and I managed to ride a couple off my wheel into a headwind so a great end to a great ride.
Organisation again was great – parking no problem, no queues for toilets or sign-on, no queues for any food, quality signage and a great route. I’ll be back for the Macc Monster and I recommend it to everyone.
Ride Stats : 64 miles in 4 hrs 24m @ 14.5mph. 5978ft climbing, 3840kcals energy used at average HR of 150bpm