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.
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.