Around 140 riders gathered in Macclesfield for the Macc Monster; a ride organised to support KidsCan, a very worthy cancer charity. The entry fee was a quite high £25 but it very quickly became apparent that this was very good value indeed. Prior to the day, the organisers had sent out an excellent set of information including route guide, profile and description of the hills (more later) and instructions about the day. A GPX file was also made available for those of us who are Garmin-enabled.
Plenty of parking at the HQ, ample facilities and sign-on was very smooth indeed, with each rider being given an Alpen bar and a choice of SiS powder or Energy Gel. In addition, we were given a voucher for food and drink at the end.
The mass start at a fraction after 9am saw us turn immediately into the first hill of the day out of Macclesfield. I have to say that the route was absolutely beautiful. Although it was a windy day, it was bright and sunny and the route took in some amazing countryside and breathtaking views – some of the best that Cheshire and the Peak District have to offer. And, added bonus, considering it was a really nice day the roads selected had little traffic on them.
The first feed stop was equally well organised. More gels and powders, loads of water, tea/coffee, bananas, malt loaf and cake – a really good selection. As I mentioned the hills had been set out in a document that was emailed before the event – I’ve included the relevant details here.
Start @ mile 0.1 Finish @ mile 2.0 Distance 1.9 Elevation at start 450ft Elevation at finish 8000ft Vertical ascent 350ft An easy start to the day.
Start @ mile 4.7 Finish @ mile 6.7 Distance 2.0 Elevation at start 660ft Elevation at finish 1200ft Vertical ascent 580ft First proper climb, selections forming.
Start @ mile 8.2 Finish @ mile 10.2 Distance 2.0 Elevation at start 870ft Elevation at finish 1544ft Vertical ascent 675ft Stunning, unbroken views to the right, famous Windgather Rocks to the left.
4. GOYT VALLEY
Start @ mile 12.4 Finish @ mile 15.1 Distance 2.7 Elevation at start 960ft Elevation at finish 1550ft Vertical ascent 590ft Our favourite, this climb has everything.
5. WILD BOAR
Start @ mile 19.6 Finish @ mile 20.8 Distance 1.2 Elevation at start 780ft Elevation at finish 1150ft Vertical ascent 370ft Surprisingly difficult for such a short climb.
6. BOSLEY CLOUD
Start @ mile 25.1 Finish @ mile 26.7 Distance 1.6 Elevation at start 390ft Elevation at finish 945ft Vertical ascent 555ft Through the trees, then hugging the escarpment to the summit.
Start @ mile 38.8 Finish @ mile 39.9 Distance 1.1 Elevation at start 995ft Elevation at finish 1532ft Vertical ascent 540ft A brute. Featureless and open, broken many a poor soul.
8. AXE EDGE
Start @ mile 50.0 Finish @ mile 53.6 Distance 3.6 Elevation at start 930ft Elevation at finish 1680ft Vertical ascent 720ft Varied, limestone gorge to start, giving way to moorland and the (in)famous Cat and Fiddle PH.
6541ft of ascent
Max gradient 13.7%
The hills came thick and fast and were somewhat relentless. They were advertised as 7,400ft of ascent but my GPS software made it 6,541ft. Either way, it was a lot! There were some tricky sections but the worst was No. 7 above, Thorncliffe. You actually start going up at around 37 miles and don’t actually stop until 41! As the guide says, it is very open and the wind was howling down it directly into our faces. The worst part of the climb is nearly 14% and into a headwind it was perhaps the most unpleasant experience I’ve had on a bike this year. Horrible, horrible, horrible. Still, I made it up but at great cost to my legs, which felt like someone else’s for about 5 miles afterwards!
However, with uphill comes downhill. Today’s ride had some of the best descents I’ve ridden. Absolute screamers and I hit 45.8mph at peak, but the best one was between mile 17 and mile 19 where my average speed was 34mph! Brilliant!
At the finish there was a burger van waiting for us – so I used my voucher for a steak sandwich and diet coke. Like I said – great value.
Overall, an excellent ride. Somebody at the end told me that the guy who organised it, from PEAK cyclesport, had only organised one before. If that’s true then chapeau to you sir because it was really well done.
Ride stats : 63.63miles in 4hrs 43mins at 13.5mph average. 6541ft of climbing and 4,018 kcals used