Manchester Mini Sportive – Cross Chained Catastrophe

During the first week of April 2017, I got an email from Evans Cycles which was well targeted. I’d fancied doing a longer ride without the hills that Allez Prestwich rides entail. I was delighted that the Trafford store was hosting a 50km sportive through the lanes of Cheshire. I registered before setting off to work and it only cost £10. My spirits were lifted for the rest of the week.

RIDE IT Events

This was the first RIDE IT event I’d been on. I hate the roads around the Trafford centre due to the multiple junctions, inpatient traffic and road works. The ride is setting off from near the Trafford Centre and I didn’t want to be rushing on Sunday morning. Trying to find the events start and getting stressed isn’t how I want to start a long ride. Therefore I needed to do a test ride mid-week to find the unfamiliar Evans Cycle (Trafford Store). I haven’t been to this store as I usually use a Local Bike Shop (LSB) called John’s Bikes of Middleton.

Map showing David Jackson getting lost on the route to Evans Cycles in Trafford.
Getting lost in Dumplington on test ride to Evans Cycles (Trafford)

If you look closely at the map you will notice I rode through an area called ‘Dumplington’, what a curious name. If anyone knows how this area got this name please get in contact with me.

Manchester Store Mini Sportive

On Sunday 9th April 2017 I arrived at the Trafford Store a little after 8:30 am. There were already riders setting off, so I rushed in to register. I then found out that after registration there was a delay until we were briefed as a group about route markings, diversions and hazards en route.

The organisers had emailed me the maps of the route (gpx / tcx / pdf) which is always useful. This mini sportive featured a fully waymarked circular route taking in some of their staff’s favourite roads around the store. I only noticed about a dozen of the pink arrow way markers, despite there being 3 signs per junction.

Leyzne Macro GPS is Big Problem

I was totally reliant on my Garmin for this sportive. The Garmin Edge 200 was actually my back up GPS device. The Lezyne Marco GPS unit I’d taken had navigated me to the start and then never switched to the uploaded route. The Macro at one point was more use upside down! Although I restarted the sportive’s route, the Lezyne Macro wouldn’t continue mid-route and kept on trying to get me back to the start. This may be partly human error but I’ve been hugely disappointed so far with the software on the Y10 Leyzne Macro GPS, even after 6 firmware updates.

Gentle Rolling Route

As this was a short route it meant no feed stations during this ride, but we had been given various free High 5 energy products at the start to join my saddle bag’s collection. Free hot drinks were available at the store for the caffeine addicted, but I prefer not starting a ride with a full bladder.

The route headed south from Manchester, first with some urban riding to get us away from the Trafford Centre before hitting quieter roads. There’s a long but gentle climb as we headed away from Rushgreen where we continued to head south until we skirted the edge of the Tatton Park estate. From here we turned to head back passing Altrincham and then Dunham Massey Deer Park before our finish.

Ride Highlights

92 riders rode the sportive. Although I rode alone with an average speed around 20 km/hr I ended up recognising faces along the route. I believe there were about 8 people of similar speed to me and we kept passing each other as various rests, refuels and one mechanical slowed us down temporarily.

There was only one slight hill along the route I can recall. It was memorable as I was riding alone with three gentlemen as we approached the hill. All of a sudden the group ground to a halt and I only just avoided the rider in front.

Everyone was safe and sound but there was one obvious problem. A rider stood next to her bike had a broken chain. A broken chain is a mechanical I have dreaded experiencing myself. It could easily be the end of a ride in many cases. I knew Evans Cycles had given us a contact phone number to call the cavalry but fortunately my youth as a scout paid off.

Do your duty and be prepared

If you read my article on essential equipment to bring on a ride you’ll see I always bring a multi-tool with a chain breaker and quick links to rejoin the inner plate ends of a chain. This had recently been amended to not just bring a 9-speed quick link for my bike but from China I bought a small fishing hook case and used these compartments to organise 5 to 8-speed, 9-speed and 10-speed quick links. The links weigh next to nothing and only cost ~ £0.35 each so why not be prepared.

One thing I’ve seen over and over again in cycling is that whether it’s a friendly nod while passing each other, donating an energy gel to a flagging rider or lending a hand with a mechanical there is excellent camaraderie among Cyclists.

My best guess is that the chains side plates had been put under too much sideways stress when the chain was cross chained. Luckily the broken chain was an 8-speed chain. I had what we needed to get the chain fixed and we were back en route just a few minutes later.

Post Ride Revelry

It was a beautifully Sunny day. What a pleasure to end it with a lovely cup of coffee outside. A small group of riders gathered with me and we reflected on a rather pleasant ride. Tails of earlier achievements and comical cycling incidents followed.

I had finished the sportive by noon and still felt fresh. I was half tempted to do another lap, as I had enjoyed it so much. However, I wanted to get home and check on the progress of an Allez Prestwich rider (Craig) who was attempting his maiden century.

As you will see from my ride log this Sunday ride helped me hit 149.1 km ridden that week and why not check out Craig’s century ride on Strava.

I hope this has inspired you to join in with one of the Ride IT events.

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Author: David Jackson

Hello, I'm a 38 yo cyclist trying to get healthy and set a good example for my daughter. I work for a Charity by day and in 2017 I rode my first century!

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