About 18 months ago I half heartedly entered a Manchester bike race called Hit The North 1.5, which was dubbed a winter sprinter. 2 hrs + 1 lap was the format and I think it cost a tad over a tenner to enter.
I’d got a relatively new bike at the time and thought I’d be able to hack 3 or 4 laps of the course around Philips Park.
It didn’t exactly go to plan –
• the preview ride ended up with me ripping the rear mech off on a tree
• I didn’t do any preparation at all
• I didn’t consider the track conditions and how tyre choices would affect the outcome
In all honesty I expected the race to be on a fairly flat park course and didn’t expect there to be as much climbing, descending or singletrack sections.
Race day arrived and the race began, I overtook a few riders on the first lap, so far so good.
Then I got tired…
My tyres were too fat for the muddy conditions…
I got overtaken…
I ran out of talent…
I fell off…
Broke my helmet, cut my chin and ran out of energy so retired at the end of lap 2.
What has this got to do with now?
Well it’s a precursor to me confirming that I’ve entered Hit The North 2.0
And I’m both very excited and truly terrified!
This isn’t a 2hr race, but an 8 hour endurance (for me) event in a similar area to the race I crashed and burned.
Whats changed since then?
My bike is better – gears, forks, brakes and pedals have all been replaced/upgraded.
I’m much much fitter – 6 months ago I could just about manage a 5 mile ride in an hour. Now I can ride 20-30 miles at an average of 10-12mph.
Technically I’ve improved; I can pick better lines, maintain my balance better and thanks to extra strength I can use my gears more efficiently.
Risks? I’m doing the Manchester to Blackpool ride 13 days before, which is 63 road miles and significantly longer than any ride I’ve ever done, so I might be a bit broken.
I’ve not fully beaten my fear of descents. A trip to Cragg Quarry and yesterday’s step riding has improved things but I’m not confident on slippery surfaces.
How will I do and have I got a strategy?
Well I’m not going for an all out victory, so I can’t see any harm in sharing my ideas –
Each lap is 6.5 miles, I can manage a ride of 30 miles on the road in 3 hrs, so off road I’m going to probably manage
5 or so laps. Probably split into 2×2 lap stints with a rest inbetween. If the legs hold up and I don’t break either the bike or me, then I’ll aim for another 2 laps.
It’ll be way off the winner, but I don’t care. I want to do my best and if my best is 4,5 or 6 laps then so be it.
So with much trepidation I say roll on the 17th July.