Manchester 100 – easier than running…?
Raising money for Myeloma, UK
Sunday 31st August, the day of the Manchester 100 had arrived and I’d pledged to raise £400 for Myeloma UK. Thank you to those of you who have kindly made donations. The site is still live if anyone else wishes to donate (https://www.justgiving.com/Diane-Frost1). I set off at 7.30 am with my friend and cycling partner, Lynn from our very own Wythenshawe Park and headed out through Baguley towards Timperley and into the Cheshire countryside. Within 20 minutes of setting off, the heaven’s opened with a heavy downpour, but like seasoned runners, we were undeterred.
We hoped we’d done enough training to do this in a good time, but like other endurance events, (marathon/half-marathon/triathlon), one never feels quite fully prepared – if only there was more time… The difference with cycling though is you can get away with not doing as much training (easier on the legs but definitely not so easy on the seat). As cyclist amongst you know, there are other advantages to cycling that makes it easier than running, for example, it’s less jarring on the joints (but then again, there’s cyclist knee!); you can fuel more easily on the bike (helped by the fact that you can carry liquids; food etc and are less likely to get a stitch or cramp ); you can chat to while away the time and take in the scenery on quiet rural routes (yes, you can also do that when running the Wilmslow half); you can ride behind a group or individual to shelter from the wind and take advantage of the slipstream (and take your turn to ride up front) but a major advantage over running is that when you’ve climbed those hills, you can sit and have a rest on the way down or choose to peddle and gain ground and speed with very little effort (as well as gain momentum for the next hill) – I’ve never really got the hang of running full pelt down hills (and missed the Lyme Park fell runs due to injury).
The downhill’s during the Manchester 100 were exhilarating, reaching speeds of 30mph (not quite Le Tour de France at 70mph but then we were not coming down the Alps!). As we rode on through the Cheshire lanes, the rain stopped and we enjoyed the quietness and peace of the roads virtually traffic-free. We headed towards Northwich, passing through quiet picturesque country villages like Great Budworth. The route split after around 30 miles – left for the 100 km, right for the 100 miles – did we feel tempted to do the short route – absolutely not, we were feeling good and kept up the pace. We took a right towards Delamere Forrest and on to Nantwich for the half-way stop, except it wasn’t half-way it was mile 56. Oh well – less to do on the homeward route. The feed station was well supplied with umpteen varieties of cake, chocolate, sandwiches. We plumped for chocolate cake and a cuppa tea (brought our own sandwiches, wine gums, nuts and dried fruit) – what a treat. After 30 mins or so rest, re-filling of water bottles and a visit to the loo, we set off relatively refreshed for the homeward journey.
A few more hills to negotiate (whoever said Cheshire is flat is deluded!) and another tea stop in glorious sunshine in Middlewich. Only 24 miles to go now. We put our foot down as we were on the home straight. Through Lower Peaover, Knutsford, Mobberley and Wilmslow – on home territory now only 10 miles to go but the prospect of getting up the hill at Styal filled me with dread! Would I be able to get up this monster of a hill after cycling 95 miles? Should I have a gel for insurance? In the end, decided not to think about it, forget the gel and just do it. All done, Styal hill not that bad, flying home now for the last 5 miles. We crossed the finish in under 8 hours (including 3 stops). Looking forward to a hot bath, roast potatoes and yes another mug of tea! A thoroughly enjoyable day – great camaraderie from fellow cyclist, beautiful scenery (including Frodsham and Beeston Castle) and a real sense of achievement! Oh and one more thing, a lot easier than running! but before you hang up your trainers, remember running is cheaper than cycling; takes less time; is less dangerous and you get to belong to a fabulous running club and community like Manchester Harriers. Cycling compliments running – it strengthens your glutes and endurance, and is a great way to cross-train, but then you already know that don’t you!