Cheshire Cat Sportive 2011

This Sunday is the Cheshire Cat Sportive!

I'm quite excited, I've not taken part in a sportive since the disaster that was the Manchester 100. I feel as though I'm ready. I've had a good Winter with hardly a weekend off the bike. There is about 20 of us from Weaver Valley CC taking part too.

Starting once again from Crewe Alexandra's stadium there will be 100, 67 and 45 mile options available.

This will be my third year of entering. The sportive is always very well organised, the feedstations are always well stocked (last year they were supported by Chatwin's, a big local bakery, and the range of foods was incredible).

The 100 and 67 mile routes take in the landmark of the sportive, the Mow Cop climb. Although relatively short in length it is the brutal steepness of the sections which are a killer. You'll find various videos on Mow Cop on You Tube however a lot of attention in the videos are aimed at final third of the climb and the 1 in 4 section going past the pub. Yes that is super steep and you'll need to push hard however the first third of the climb from the bottom is also pretty steep so take it easy here and rest in the middle of the climb.

After Mow Cop it isn't easy going either, you'll head into Wincle where there are couple of testing short, sharp climbs before a long drag up to Holmes Chapel. The run into Holmes Chapel is quite exposed and if the wind is up across the open fields it'll be tough going.

After the feed stop at Holmes Chapel, it is all flat but a couple of the runs are on long, tenuous main roads so get in a group if you can to share the effort. Last year there was a headwind all the way home which sapped any energy you had left.

Shortly after Holmes Chapel the 67 and 100 mile routes split up, 67 have about 20 miles to home at this point. Word of warning: you'll be going down past Crewe to Nantwich before heading back up home again so keep that in mind when you see the tempting 2 mile signposts for Crewe!!

For the 45 mile riders, you won't be doing Mow Cop but you'll be with everyone until near the bottom before making your way to Holmes Chapel and re-joining everyone, and the 67 mile riders home. There is one little sharp climb to contend with around Smallwood before the Holmes Chapel feed but apart from that it is all flat. The 45 mile route is ideal for those new to sportives as it's a good distance and also ideal for time trialists wanting to get some fitness. I've done it twice. Be prepared to ride alone, not a lot of people do the 45 so it is a good test for handling that distance quickly without working with a group.

That's about it really. Watch it for the first 10-20 miles as the roads can be very busy with cyclists. Many can be over enthusiastic and inexperienced so don't worry about sprinting off trying to keep up. Take your time, watch the wheels and keep some space in front.


Lee Band said...

Hi Andy,

We spoke last year after i read your blog on up coming sportives. Sorry to hear about your accident as the same happened to me last august. Luckily the old fool admitted liability and have only just recieved my new bike. So the cheshire cat is the maiden sportive(67 miler), good luck and look forward to reading your progress.


Woody said...

Cheers Lee! Sorry to hear about your accident, what bike did you get?

Are you on Twitter?

Lee Band said...

Hi Andy,

I got a trek madone (not the silly money ones- madone 4.5) only because i know the owner of the bike shop and i'd rather give my money to them. And a couple of hundred quid saving didn't go amiss. I'm not on twitter never really bothered with it, but might have a look. Gonna sign for the Mac bikeathon it sounds good. Cheer's Lee.