MANX33 – Perfect conditions not a drop of rain….

“Sometimes it’s just the way it is”

After my stage race in Sri Lanka I felt great physically and mentally to take on the toughest one day mountain bike race in the UK. Along with over 100 riders we eagerly waited for Nigel (Mr.Manx100) to light the fuse and let the riders explode into action. Having done the 100k twice and promoted the event through creating a promo video for Nigel, I was keen to really have a go at the 100 miles this year.

Riders from all over the UK had entered this race and the magnificent seven from Calderdale Simon, Mitch, Kev, Andy, Justin, Adam and Neil aka Big Earn were also ready and eager to find out what makes this race so tough.

The race starts with a police escort that leads the riders for a while, once the escort pulled to one side the riders were gone and the fast ones at the front weren’t to be seen until I passed ‘Phil the train Simcock’ and thought, blooming heck my fitness has improved only to realise that so early in the race ‘The Train Simcock’ had snapped his chain (bugger), he was currently now in last position. Within 20 minutes I heard a ‘hey up’ and ‘the train’ was on a mission to hunt down those ahead of him.  He picked off over 100 riders and made his way to second only to then have a fall and dislocate/broke his thumb which on a course like the Manx, is not what you need as full fitness is key as it’s tough on every part of the body.  Phil completed the 100k and headed to A&E. I was 10 miles in and cruising as my average speed was 14mph. Things were great, the climbing started after the steady 10 miles and even then I felt fine as we climbed the first proper off road into the wild open space that is the Isle of Man.

The Indian Fire Trial

San Kipal

The Fatbike was a joy to ride with my Fu Man Chu bars. I was cruising flying down the descents faster than ever before picking off riders like they were stationary and then steady away on the climbs but not at any point feeling the burn. I checked the time and it was 10am, I was just about to reach Bag Drop One when I heard the front tyre pinch – I looked down and I had what everyone dreads, a bloody puncture on a Fatbike. I’ve ridden the Fatbike everywhere round Calderdale, Lancashire and Sri Lanka on Juggernaut tyres and never had one puncture – but now I was running Schwable Jumbo Jims which would make the bike lighter, but this was not really a good time to mess about with tyre choice ie. the day before a big race (lesson learnt). Anyway, I removed the wheel and replaced the tube and then attempted to pump it with a mini pump (not happening) fortunately David French had just arrived and he had a gas cannister which managed to get me about 4psi and to Bag Drop One where I needed a track pump. Unfortunately the Marshall didn’t have one, so a call to Nigel and Lisa who would drive from Douglas to East Mountain Gate so I could get going again. Lisa arrived but over an hour had passed since my puncture and the clock was ticking. I continued after inserting more air and headed to the only push/boggy bit of the course. The grassy descent down to Snaefell mines was fun and had no over the handlebar moments. I knew I had some catching up to do as it was approaching midday so I was hammering the rocky descent into Laxey. The Fatbike was loving it and the speed was crazy fast until disaster struck. I hit a rock, the tube burst and I went flying over the handlebars crashing to the ground landing in a puddle. I picked myself up and was repairing the tube but the valve was damaged so I had no option but to push the bike down to Laxey. I pushed for a while until a man with a trailer offered me a lift down into Laxey (thanks Robin). I sat in Laxey thinking about my next steps as it was now 1pm and I was running 3 hours behind schedule with no fat inner tubes in sight to sort my problem. My only option was to call the ride in to Nigel and with a heavy heart I DNF.

On reflection this happens and it was just one of those days when mentally and physically you are on it,  but mechanically it was out of my hands so that means I’ll be back to do it all again which was always going to be the case as I do love riding the Manx100.

It was great to hear the tales after the race from all the Calderdale crew, Team JMC, Keith, Angus, Matt and Crispin, riders who admitted it was the toughest one day event they’d ever done but at the same time extremely chuffed they had completed the course which is hard, long and very brutal on the body.
I hope to see everyone there again next year even if they are racing the 100k for the British National Marathon Championship or or having another go at the 100 miler.  Either way it’s a great day out.

Tony Kiss was the winner of the 100 miler with a time of 10hrs 2mins and still the 10 hour barrier remains to be broken.

Well organised, great people and you see it all on your bike.

100 miles – 16,000 feet

100k – 10,000 feet

Keep on riding