Winter Sprinter Sportive, and other stuff.

I had a big day out at the weekend on the new road bike. Allen of Polocini, an event-organising friend, had put together a 100 kilometre cyclosportive that just so happened to be on my mother-in-law’s doorstep so a plan was hatched to incorporate it into a bigger ride to make the day even longer and hairy-chested’er.

After a not-too early start I set off from home and decided that a brisk 15 miles spin, taking the direct route towards Macclesfield through the deserted Sunday morning streets of Manchester City Centre was the sensible option – I’d arrive nicely warmed up rather than hammering myself along the longer and much more hilly ‘usual’ route via Oldham and then the Peak District. Plus I’d have had to get out of bed over 2 hours earlier…

After signing in, a few hello’s and a bowl of Viking Porridge from Rachael and Paul (of Hit the North catering fame) I set off near the front of the mass start, after ‘dibbing’ my timing chip on the way out.

Soon the pack split into smaller groups and I made sure I was in the leading one – the 20 or so riders in the group were all doing a fairly good job of sharing the work but eventually I looked around and counted 5 other riders…

The route was fairly undulating for the first half, then a special timed climb of ‘Swiss Hill’ – a cobbled and slippery steep slope in Wilmslow near the halfway point then some decent challenging hills for the latter half – I found myself more and more often at the front of the group, every time I moved to the side and slowed a little to let someone else take the helm the whole group slowed…oh well. I was training after all. I got on with the hard graft and carried on stomping up every climb for a laugh to keep the pace high and the faces grimacing >:-)

At times everyone was fairly chatty until 3 miles to go when the pace started to increase further and nobody was talking any more. Would this ‘non-competitive’ event really end with a sprint?

Yes it would. Ouch.

Despite crossing the line second (or was that third?), somehow my elapsed time put me in equal 5th place. Maybe I’ll start a couple of minutes later and work my way to the front in the first couple of miles next time…that or just ride a bit faster 😉

The whole thing was great fun. Well organised, loads of free stuff (all the food, gels and recovery drinks were included in the price) and the route was lovely. Allen’s organising a series of cyclosportives this year – enter them!

Deb arrived afterwards, we had a coffee and I ate some more ace food and then said my goodbyes again and rode back via the proper full-fat hilly route.

120 fast miles on a properly lightweight bike in the sunshine, just what I needed.