Alwyn Jones is new to Lincsquad and is a keen cyclist who likes to compete in Sportives in the UK and around Europe. In his own words Alwyn gives an account of his day on the Cheshire Cat is absolutely tropical conditions…
6am alarm. We’ve lost an hour of sleep! pre ride prep begins. Start of The Cat is between 8 – 8:30am
Off to the start which fortunately was only 10 mins away. We had to drive around a little to find a car space, with over 3000 entries it was never going to be easy!
We arrived at the start on time, just! and we were off within minutes.
Great start to the event! In previous Wiggle events I had experienced long waits to get going.
Having looked at the course profile I knew the first 40 miles were by far the hardest of the event. With the legendary killer mile of the infamous Mow Cop included at around 15 miles.
So we set off as a group of 5 at a steady pace, and at 15 miles The Killer Mile begun. It begins with a gentle first 1/4 mile from a level crossing, then a 1-in-5 section. A steady climb up in full view of the horrors to come, and at last the truly killer bit – the 1-in-4 section past the most popular spectator spot outside the Cheshire View pub, whose front door is the 3/4 mile mark. Even the comparatively level section from the top corner to the Finish is still climbing.
As I approached the 1 in 4 section I heard a big shout ahead as somebody lost grip and fell off taking a few other cyclists out . So as we approached the steepest, obviously now slippery, section I had to call on some MTB skills and find quickly the best grippiest way up. Which was up the right in the gutter!
Half way up there was a big shout as another cyclist lost grip and veered left fortunately and took out at least another 7- 8 cyclists.
No medals for them unfortunately for putting their feet down on The Killer Mile – marshals were there in force to take down every persons number who put a foot down!!
After successfully completing the Killer Mile, over the next 25 miles in turn Blacky Bank and Bridestones, Gun Hill and Wincle climbs were tackled.
Just before Gun Hill I suddenly found myself ahead of the others as I started to get into the ride and increase my pace a little.
The first feed station, which were all adequately stocked with High 5 drinks, Soreen, Bananas and countless other food, I decided to go straight past, as I still had enough drink to get to the next feed station at 55 miles.
After 45 miles I knew the worst was over until 83 miles for the next major climb.
With 3000 people having entered there were plenty of groups being formed, one in particular formed by Rock Racing I managed to get onto the back of.
They were absolutely motoring along working very efficiently at the front keeping the pace very high, and a few of us were finding it very difficult to stay with them, but we managed to until the next feed station, which we all pulled into.
Three of us formed a group straight after the feed and were managing a healthy pace, and after several miles Rock Racing flew past again.
again we raced to get on the back of the group, and once on the pace it wasn’t as hard as previous to keep up with, over the next 20 miles.
There were many junctions and main roads to cross along the route, and there were mad sprints to keep up with the group after these, which were slowly taking effect on the legs. On one such main road junction they got across before the rest of us and opened a gap we could not bridge no matter how hard two of us tried to.
After a few miles we formed another group of 5 and at 83 miles after the final climb of Harthill the clock was showing 4hrs 30 so to get within Gold Standard of 5:30 we had to average 20mph for 20 miles.
After a quick chat between us we all decided to give it a go, spending as much time as we could to pull the group along.
With 5 miles to go it was down to me as the others didn’t have much left so it was head down and grind my teeth. The last miles reminded me of those big efforts along the High Street to Caistor, and surprisingly, behind a scooter on the way to Louth with LincsQuad in January!!
Unfortunately as we approached the outskirts of Crewe we kept hitting traffic lights which always seemed to be on Red and busy main roads to cross. We were close to getting Gold and I finished outside the standard by 59 seconds. Or so I thought ! I later found out the Gold Standard was 5:40 so I was well within. I didn’t need to bury myself after all in the last 10 miles!
All in all a great day with great weather with good friends.
by Alwyn Jones
Next events – Fred Whitton Challenge, The Dragon Ride and Maratona Dles Dolomites
Give Alwyn a shout if you want to have a go at Sportives or find out more…