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Not The Manx 100.

Not The Manx 100.
The Manx 100 is a 100 mile single day ultra-endurance mountain bike race around the mountainous terrain of The Isle of Man.
It had been on my radar since it inception in, I think, 2012. This year was the first time that I had found a window to enter.
Mitch, Paul, Pascal (Fluffy), Alan, and I set off from Belper with great expectations – not of winning, I might add, but of an adventure and a great challenge.
Unfortunately, as we were driving up the M6 on our way to Liverpool, Mitch received a text message announcing the cancellation of the ferry crossings due to bad weather in the Irish Sea. Sod’s Law dictated that during one of the hottest and driest summers on record we were heading to The Isle of Man on the only shitty weekend for months, you couldn’t make it up. We sat in limbo at the dreary Knutsford Services whilst trying to figure something out. A phone call to the ferry provider – The Steam Packet Company – confirmed our worst fears, no places were available on subsequent ferries until the following day which meant we wouldn’t be toeing the start line for the race. A phone call to Nigel Morris, the race organiser, didn’t bring any further hope even though he bent over backwards to help us out, thank you Nigel. It also turned out that Nigel had never known of a ferry ever being cancelled in July.

We decided to carry on driving north and booked a dorm at the YHA Patterdale Hostel in The Lake District. The YHA set a really high standard and this was no exception, a beautifully appointed place situated close to the southern shore of the nine miles long Ullswater Lake, and in the shadow of the mighty Helvellyn mountain.
YHA Patterdale
The rain continued unabated for our entire stay, the lads decided to go out for a short loop on the bikes, I declined – having no desire to get piss wet through, and lazed around until pub time.
The local pub, The White Lion, was extremely busy with waterlogged walkers and we were fortunate to score a table at all. The ale was pretty good and the food average but it filled our bellies and we had a laugh at Pascal trying, unsuccessfully, to open a ketchup sachet. It seems that he has difficulty with this. We didn’t get a satisfactory answer as to how he copes with condom packets; we suspect his girlfriend helps him out there.
The White Lion at Patterdale. Nice beer, average nosh.
Fluffy, under instruction from Al, attempting, and failing, to open a sachet of ketchup.
Sunday morning dawned bright and wet, the rain continued to fall steadily, and with the occasional heavier deluge just for good measure. I again opted out of riding, I don’t have much taste for rain. I don’t mind riding in the rain, particularly in summer, but I don’t care much for it either, so I took the pleasant option of hanging out at the hostel drinking tea whilst they headed off for a ride/hike-a-bike up Helvellyn. When they returned some time later looking drenched and bedraggled I was reassured by my decision not to bother, regardless of their beaming smiles.
I think that my decision not to ride was the lesser of two evils.

I have some potentially big plans for next summer and I doubt that I’ll be around in July for The Manx so I’ll just have to pencil it in for 2020 instead.
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Consume less, live more. Plant more trees.

The lads enjoyed a lovely view from Helvellyn
A lovely day for a bike ride.
We spotted this sign at the edge of a grassy bank at Tebay Services. No idea?

About The Author

Neil Cottam

Neil is the founder of Chase The Rainbow. He has spent a lifetime exploring the outdoors, from a childhood climbing trees and scrambling his bike around old pit heads to hiking in the Himalaya and backpacking around Europe and Asia.

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