This Sunday (30th June) we completed the Greater Manchester Cycle again. That could be the end of the blog but for the fact there was a slight twist this year. We had put together a group of customers and staff from around Trafford Community Leisure Trust and had been preparing to do the event for a few months before. New jerseys ordered, printed and distributed, entries filled in and meeting points sorted the first wave arrived at 07:30 to a lovely morning not glorious but decent (no rain and hardly any wind). After picking up people from around the start zone due to a combination of our distinctive jerseys and mobile phones we started at the back of the couple of thousand strong field. Again there were many people young to old on many many different types of machines, the atmosphere was one of nerves and excitement. We finally got away at about 08:20 after a small wait, understandable considering the mass of people, for our four laps of the 13 mile course. We had set off and were in a nice group getting onto the Mancunian Way when we saw the lead peloton coming back the other way with their police outrider. I still cannot understand why people see fit to come and race a sportive but each to there own. We managed about two laps with the group in relative tact before we split up and rode our own pace. The second lap also heralded the arrival of a really strong wind down the back of the course. This kept us ‘entertained’ for two laps and meant a sapping of reserves for some of those newer to the ride. I managed to finish at 2hrs and 44mins, which I was pleased with as it was faster by about 10minutes from the last year. I didn’t feel that I emptied the tank but it was difficult due to starting at the back of the field and having to dodge people. We were still overtaking people as we approached the finish. Everyone of the seven finished with no issues. Some tired faces but a general feeling of enjoyment and accomplishment was expressed!
The second group doing the 26miler, two laps of the course, arrived and were ready to set off at 11:30. Heather was leading them and they set off in one of the first waves. I looked out for them on their first lap and tried (and failed) to get some pictures. They all looked pretty fresh on the first lap. I decided to go to the finish and take some video of them. I managed to get some of everyone looking a little more tired then the first lap. Heather had a slow puncture and managed to get over the finish line before we had to change it. Again everyone was pleased about completing and complementary about the organisation of the event.
As for the event itself it was again very well organised. The course had been tweeked this year after last years pinch point which caused a few problems. It was a lot better then the previous years course. The Council had filled in some pot holes which was nice for the start of the event. The only things that were a little strange were the trip through Old Trafford car park and a u-turn out at the far end of the course. Maybe they will look at that for next year!
I really enjoyed the cycle and one of the main things for me was getting more people down to enjoy the experience. Seeing people regain their enjoyment of cycling is something that I get a massive kick from.
Some pictures :-)