Macclesfield Bikeathon Review

Well here I am resting my sore legs after a good day in the saddle. Today was the third ride of the year, the Macclesfield Bikeathon. Last year I did the 30 mile option and really enjoyed it, with the extra pre-season training and two rides under my belt I opted for the 52 mile version this time round.

Brad and I rolled up for a 8am start. Almost immediately we were climbing hills, taking in Ridge Hill and Barlow Hill in Macclesfield before heading into deepest Winkle. It was a shock for me, I don't exactly love the hills and the 30 last year was all flat so I wasn't expecting so much climbing early on especially within 10 minutes of starting.

Naturally as before I struggled, although I've incorporated hills much more into my training I still got dropped as we climbed up on to the moors near to the Cat and Fiddle. Brad with his lean figure found the climbing easy and dropped me early on.

This ride was a good learning curve for me, I found that going up the first long steep hill of Ridge Hill I was trying to peddle at a high cadence and keep the pace up. Although the pace wasn't fast as on the flat, I just blew up and was really out of breath. After a short flat period I calmed down, however there was another steep climb, a hill which wound up the hillside on to the top of the moor. Put simply, halfway up I had to stop. I was incredibly out of breath, I nearly spewed up and was in a state. I just sat there and watched everyone slowly roll up the hill. What was I doing wrong?

After I had calmed down I set off again and had no problems going up the steep bit. I realised with the numerous climbs that came for the next hour that I had been going to fast and I had to simply take it slow, sit in the siddle and grind it out my pace. I relaxed my body and concentrated on my breathing and found I was doing fine.

I also found that despite the heavy climbing I still had a lot of energy in the legs for the decent. So instead of resting, I was pounding out the cadence. I was overtaken by a few people on the hills, but easily re-gained my position (and further) on the decent so it worked out nicely. If I can loose weight and improve on the climbs I'll be very happy.

So, the hills were a shock, certainly a lot harder than anything I've done before, however I found that I had a lot of energy for the flat. The next 20 miles was flat around Cheshire, taking in Jodrell Bank and Goostrey which I whizzed along.

The final 10 miles was painful, the earlier climbing, together with the relentless rain, tooks its toll on the legs. I found I lost my power on the flat, simply pushing the cadence through, keeping the legs spinning and not re-gaining position, just keeping it steady. The last 6 miles saw some naughty sharp hills, nothing significant but enough to piss you and you're tired legs off.

I returned to Macclesfield a tired rider. In 3 hours 55 minutes I had learnt so much, achieved so much. I was totally drained however loved every minute. I love Macclesfield Bikeathon, I would recommend it to anyone. It is superbly well organised, friendly stewards and everything runs like clockwork. Over the 52 miles there were 4 checkpoints, yes 4 checkpoints, with free refreshments which is incredible considering you can do some rides which are longer (or even shorter where you pay the same entry fee) and get less checkpoints! On top of that when you reach the finish there is entertainment, massages, free food and drink and you recieve a medal for your efforts. The best thing is everyone is friendly, there is a great mixture of riders too. I would definately recommend it, roll on 2010!!!

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