Cheshire Cat 2010 Review

Following a successful Jodrell Bank sportive in which I encountered a number of tricky climbs, I was looking forward to taking part in the Cheshire Cat.

I originally entered the 67 mile option which took in Mow Cop and continued on to Winkle near Macclesfield. Although the climbs were tough I felt that because they came in the first 25 miles, with the rest of the route being flat, I could handle it.

Unfortunately after the Jodrell Bank sportive I didn't capitalise on having the miles in my legs. A weekend trip down to London and late nights at work meaning no trips out on the bike. The Saturday before the Cheshire Cat I went out for a 30 mile ride, the legs felt ok but I was no where near the fitness level I wanted to be at for the 67.

For 24 hours my mind was everywhere, my heart screamed for me to do the 67, conquer the climbs and tackle Mow Cop while my common sense was saying get another 47 miles in the legs and build up the base fitness.

I decided to do the 47. My target is still to do my first century in September. I decided to set a target of under 3 hours, if I wasn't going to do the 67 then at least I was going to go full out in the 47.

Signing in was simple. I arrived at Crewe Alexandra on Saturday afternoon and had it done within 5 minutes. We were all given a timing chip and come Sunday morning all I had to do is ride up to the line and get going.

2700 riders had signed up of which 260 were doing the 47. After 15 minutes I was on my way and rode along with a group, hooking on to some fast riders passing by. The pace was pretty fast early on and eventually I split off on my own after 10 miles.

The winds were mental all the way round the course, making it tough work on my own. The roads were horrendous. I didn't come across any riders throughout the morning, there was only 2 of us at the feed stop at Holmes Chapel. It was simply a case of digging deep, staying focused and keep the legs spinning.

I felt so bad doing the 47. I felt as though I was letting myself down especially when people like Phil Jones, who have only been riding for 9 months are getting stuck in with the 100, but I was glad I had chosen the 47. I wouldn't have managed the 67. I need to build up my fitness slowly, and if I'm going to do this I want to do it properly, not puffing around a course with my eyes popping out, nearly throwing up. I want to be competitive.

By the closing miles of the 47 I was cramping in my thighs. I'm going to get some advice on this as I've had much more training leading up to March than in previous years but I can't remember cramping up as much. Saying that I might be putting more effort into my riding.

The Result

I completed the course in....3 hours 3 minutes!! This included the time at Holmes Chapel where I stopped for 10 minutes waiting to see if Brad was coming through so taking off the 10 minutes I would have been well under 3 hours. Super chuffed!

My split times were the same both halves and I ended up 46th out of 260. Taking off the 10 minutes I would have been in the top 25. The fastest guy was 2 hours 24 minutes so there is plenty of scope to make up, however I'm happy with progress.

April is now a quiet month for rides before it kicks off big time in May. I'm hoping to get out a lot more with the lighter nights and get some longer rides in over the weekend. Hopefully this will build up my fitness levels and help me loose my weight. I also want to improve my hill climbing.

I would totally recommend the Cheshire Cat, a great atmosphere, superb organisation and the spread at the feed stops and finish have set a high standard to be matched. It is no wonder it sells out each year. The 2011 Cheshire Cat takes place on the 27th March - get your name down early!

3 comments:

Phil Jones said...

You did a good time there Andy and totally agree about the fitness.

I had to keep reminding myself on the way round, when faster guys just fly by you, that it's about building base miles and fitness. When I walked the final third of Mow Cop, I was gutted, however, time and fitness will fix that.

We should ride out sometime.

Phil Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Woody said...

Cheers Phil, did a nice longish ride with a couple of hills last weekend which went really well.

Would love to head out sometime, let me know some dates and I'm sure we can sort something out! My email is andywood1986@hotmail.co.uk