It was a cloudy overcast day, with light rain in the morning when the small group of travelers gathered at the Vickers residence. It wasn’t very encouraging but the plans where made and the mission was a go! Enroy was not about allow anyone to desert!
The Lawrences, Vickers, Crosdales and Thomas families loaded up in a caravan of two cars and headed off for Manchester in the gloomy morning, praying for a safe journey and good weather.
This was the beginning of another adventure of the Great Manchester Cycle, now in its fourth year. With budding cyclists; Horatio and Enroy entering the 26 miles event, poor Clarence was regulated to spectator side-lines due to a late training injury.
The long drive left its mark on the entourage as they enter the Etihad Stadium car with minutes to spare for preparation for the event. Even so, it was the most funniest drive the passengers of the Vickers car every had!
Billy’s jokes kept everyone awake, even worse, there where those bordering on tears because they had laughed too much! The man was an endless supply of great stories and jokes.
Everyone were enthusiastic and the bikes where quickly assembled and the two cyclists joined the large group waiting at the starting line.
It was impressive as it has been the last three events. There were people of every age with their bikes. There where bikes of every description, poor and simple to extravagantly expensive. Cycling kits of professionals to plain street clothes to super heroes, including Captain America!
It was Horatio’s first official sportive (official cycle event – not a race) and it proved to be a packed event. Last year it was over 8,000 cyclists on the road!
The ride was fantastic and fast, the strategy was to ride fast and keep out of the groups (peloton), that way ensuring safety around the pinch points. Riding at 17 mph, they quickly made the first lap in 45:25 minutes and the second in 52:55 which included a stop at Old Trafford for gels and bananas. Each lap was 13 miles and two laps required for the 26 mile event.
In all the time was 1:31:37 by the Garmin. It will be less by the Great Manchester Cycle timings system as the organiser don’t include the stop at the check point at Old Trafford. That’s 13 minutes less last year and will be most certainly lesser when the adjusted time is posted!
Although they got wet in around 30 minutes in on the second lap, the sun came out by the time they reached the finish line. Spectators and finishers merged into one with the sweet taste of victory and success of accomplishing a noble cause that will help popular charities in the West Midlands.
Even so, the day was not over by a long shot. It was time for some well-earned lunch and out came the picnic baskets/humpers, chairs and food – Bilston Church style but out doors in Manchester! Then it was the long journey home; uneventful and safe, the end of a wonderful weekend for everyone and that includes Billy as can be seen below showing his moves!