Night Ride Manchester to Blackpool – 2015
As only my 2nd ride since injury, I was still somewhat cautious about expectations. I really wanted to improve on my 2014 time but knew my fitness wasn’t anywhere near normal. This year though, I didn’t have the nightmare logistics of Daniel being at an away weekend so the preparation was fluent.
Once again, we had a great weather for an overnight ride – nice and dry but not too chilled. As usual, I set off around the front group though knew this time that it would be a chilly wait for the bus back from Blackpool.
After a slow exit from the complex I picked up the pace on the roads and caught up with John and David. On the early pace we seemed well-matched so rode together for a while in a mini chain-gang. However, boys being boys, we did begin to push each other a tad and David had to drop back a little.
However, John was aiming for a PB on the route too so we really helped and pushed each other on at what felt like a pretty swift pace in the darkness. Clearly, with the pace and the near-front start we were the lead riders.
One thing I hadn’t realised is that the organisers of the event kept abreast of the front riders with a van. This really made the route guidance very easy as the signage can be difficult to spot in the darkness (though the Garmin was also guiding).
We pounded on past all the pit stops to gun for our PBs, obviously chatting along the way. At around 35 miles though I could feel my energy levels beginning to sap and John ended up pulling me along (drafting) for a stretch.
However, by the time we hit Lytham, John had started to deplete but fortunately I think my peanut M&Ms and Jelly Babies had started to work their magic and my strength was returning. This meant I was able to return the favour and pull John along back in to Blackpool. This is the aspect of group rides I really like i.e. the sharing of pain and the common motivation to do your best but not let each other down.
As we hit the finish line, John and I purposely crossed over as joint first back, to the usual welcome and a few photos. Felt great to be in that saddle again. (Official pics: Snap 1 Snap 2 Snap 3 Snap 4 )