Cycling the Isle of Man in a weekend

Or so it feels like...

Met yesterday with Tina and Caroline as we were joining the Scone Run ride up north. They don't half cycle fast do these Scone run cyclists, and when I got home my legs are pretty well jelliefied and I was pretty well finished off, but I keep telling myself its really good for me, and will help keep the weight down and help keep me fit.

Here is our route: (with my travelling to and from the event.

In total with cycling to the start and cycling back home the Scone ride today was just over 100km in length, and I'm lying in bed feeling shattered. Tomorrow is my October AAA cycle ride, for Audax UK, its another GPS DIY ride, this one cycles the same route as the Isle of Man Parish Walk. It is 85 miles in length. As a social ride, it is completed every year as a memorial ride to Stuart Slack.

Stuart Slack was a Manx cyclist, and won a bronze medal in the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. He was also a well known Manx folk singer and wrote several songs that are well known on the island. This ride, is organised yearly by his family and is always well attended. It sort of follows the IOM Parish Walk in reverse with a few alterations to allow cyclists the choice to stop at the half way point by a slap up meal in St Johns or to continue for the rest of the ride upping the miles to 85.

This year the ride was supposed to be today. The 10 October, but it has been put back a week by the organisers. Because I cannot miss an opportunity to do an Audax ride, I entered this with Audax UK as a Do it Yourself GPS ride, with AAA points (hopefully there is enough height for this). By the time I had heard about the date change, I couldn't be bothered to alter it with Audax UK, and so forefitted my usual mountain bike ride for a solo road one instead. As the week continued, the weather got better and better. This morning it was perfect.

I rose at 6am, and outside the stars were still twinkling in the last of the night sky. Ate a hearty breakfast (this IS the best bit about cycling), porridge and two boiled eggs with coffee. Sorted out the Hetchins (lights, money, bananas, water, gloves and stuff) and off I went. Oh to be out and about on an early Sunday morning. No lights in any of the houses I sped past in Laxey, everyone asleep. Hardly any cars out and about whatsoever. Laxey is on the east coast, and the sun slowly heaved its heavy self out of the depths of the Irish Sea, bringing her fanfare of sunrise colour as she did so. It was a stunning morning.

Here is a picture of my bicycle in Maughold village. The colours were fantastic, and much nicer in real life.

Fit for an Audax!

It seemed that wildlife has a bit of a party when we are asleep on a Sunday, I must of seen about 6 pheasants perched on five-bar gates as I cycled, (singles, not together), and I very nearly hit a pole cat, he/she sped out from no where, braked hard as my front wheel nearly made contact, hissed horribly (so did I!), and then scuttled at speed back to the hedge, it was a very near thing was that... As the morning warmed and the mists evaporated, so did the diversity of wildlife. Very few birds about other than the pheasants at this time of year.

My ride continued, into Ramsey, then out along the TT course to Glen Duff. I cycled to Andreas where I stopped for coffee (I love the small one-stop-shops we have here, as so many of them will brew up for you). Then on to Bride, Jurby, Ballaugh (more coffee), and then to Peel. Peel is about the half way mark. The town was still a bit sleepy when I arrived at about 10ish. Stopped for a banana and then ever upward. This part of the route is the hilly bit, and it IS hilly (starts off with a 17% ascent). The road ahead only seems to only go upwards. Eventually the road meets the top of the Sloc road, with the Parish Walk proper, I should of turned right, but my route took me downwards into Ballabeg, then Colby, (I had to cycle a loop here to get the miles in) to Port St Mary, then Castletown and back to Douglas.

The Southern Hemisphere of the Isle of Man is so much busier than the north section. Cars seemed to be getting ever nearer to my elbow even though they had wider roads down this neck of the woods, but I managed to escape any contact with motors and concentrated in getting home. I don't like the southern part of the island and I was looking forward to the last 20 miles or so ending. It was good to ride routes that I don't usually ride and soon I was back home from where I started. I had a good time for today. Legs didn't feel as jellified as they did for the Scone run. The ride was just about 85 miles and this week I have topped the 200 mile mark which is very unusual for October!

Here is my Garmin route:

Got home to find my perfect man cooking curry, so I didn't need to set off so early today, as I assumed I would be doing Sunday dinner as usual, but no... Curry for all. And I wasn't going to complain one tiny jot!

Next week the Stuart Slack Memorial ride is running proper, and I intend to use this ride as a proper social. Lots of yakking, and eating, and not so many miles! Fingers crossed everyone will be blessed once again with the weather, but Im not going to be greedy, today was superb, and it will be hard to top again this month.

6 comments on “Cycling the Isle of Man in a weekend”

  1. Patrick wrote:

    Well done Mary. That's 150 miles for the weekend, with 9,500 feet of climbing (3½ Great Gables). Having to cook the Sunday dinner after all that would be a bit much, especially after getting up at six in the morning. So well done the man too! What's his rice like? Ours tends to be a bit soggy instead of nice and fluffy. When my son Nick does the rice he soaks it in cold water before cooking it. That seems to fluff it up a little.

    50 miles was my weekend's modest total, also in lovely (lawn mowing) weather.

    Garmin Connect is an excellent service. Have you tried the player? It helps make sense of your Scone Run where the wiggly red line crosses over itself a few times.

  2. Mary wrote:

    Hi Patrick, we always use brown rice, its totally fool proof. Always makes far too much, so I can use it in salads for the following day.

    Lawn mowing = strimming in my book! 🙂 See what happens when one gets obsessive about something! 🙂 Best not mention housework... 🙂 (there are always rainy days a plenty for that!)

    Not tried the player, I assume its on the Garmin Connect page? Will take a peek, although these things always make total sense to you, they never seem to for me.

  3. Mary wrote:

    Just found that 'player' on Garmin Connect. WOW, that is the coolest thingymagig is it not! Never thought of looking at it before. Thanks Patrick.

  4. Chris wrote:

    We had very good weather this weekend, too. Glad to hear you made the most of it, Mary. I'm really impressed with the jazzy stuff you can do with Garmin Connect. I wonder if the Garmin eTrex HCx has the same functionality.

  5. Mary wrote:

    I too like the Garmin Connect thingy you can do with a Garmin Edge. Thing is though, for the life of me, I cannot use the Garmen Edge to find my way to anywhere! Which is why I bought it! Its ok to let me know WHERE I went, but not where I am going to!

    Not sure if this is perhaps just what you use them for, but I have tried and tried to use it for map reading and just given up.

    When I cycle in UK, I always take my trusty SATMAP and use that to get to my destination, and use the Garmin to let everyone know where I was. 🙂 Trust me to do things the complicated and expensive way.

    I think that the Garmin Connect works for all their computers, but not 100% on that one. Look up the Garmin Connect site on Google and see if your machine is on their list. I had to register mine, and then sort out a login etc, and now hey presto I just fit the Garmin at the end of a ride with a wire to my computer and it just downloads it after the 'Download' button is pressed on GC.

  6. Patrick wrote:

    Chris wrote: I wonder if the Garmin eTrex HCx has the same functionality.

    Yes it does, except that the eTrex Legend HCx (and the Vista HCx) doesn't count calories like the Edge series does. Garmin Connect is purely a web service where you can upload .gpx files either off your computer (which I do) or straight off the GPS unit itself (which Mary does).

    Mary wrote: I have tried and tried to use it for map reading and just given up.

    The problem is, I think, that you cannot yet use MapSource (the mapping software that comes with the Garmin GPS) on a Mac, only Windows. It's very easy to create routes in MapSource and transfer them to the unit, and vice versa, and you use the City Navigator maps that have to be bought separately. It's best to buy them on DVD rather than Micro SD card but no use on Macintosh, unless things have moved on since I last looked.

    The City Navigator maps can be re-installed any number of times in MapSource on different computers but only to one single Garmin GPS. If you buy a new GPS then you need to buy the maps again!

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