Last Friday, we boarded a ferry in Heysham bound for the Isle of Man. The reason for our voyage: the Manx 100. After a crossing which felt like it should have been over sooner than it was, we were greeted on the promenade in Douglas by sun and and a sea breeze.
The pleasant weather continued through Saturday as we explored the town, stocked up on supplies and visited the Manx Museum. A few familiar faces appeared at the race registration, held at the famous TT grandstand in the evening.
Unfortunately, the registration was the only part of the race held on the sunny Saturday. Sunday morning started chilly but sunny although the clouds were soon covering more and more of the celestial dome. We soon found ourselves climbing up onto the hills after the first stretch of road. With what felt like too many layers on, at this point keeping warm was easy enough.
Climbing close to Snaefell on exposed moorland it became clear the wind was picking up and temperatures dropping.
Dropping down some really fun rocky Lake District style trails brought the route to the west of the island and some shelter in a forested section. It’s worth noting how enthusiastic, friendly and helpful everyone involved in the event was. The local riders taking part in the event always offered up hints and tips about upcoming trails.
After a long rutted climb a familiar stretch of road came in to view; it was the mountain road of the TT course I recognised from videos I had seen. I stopped for a quick sandwich and then got moving again.
A steep descent lead to a rocky track where I punctured and the rain started to get heavier. Clothes were quickly soaked through. Up to this point I was undecided whether to do the 100m or 100km route. My decision was confirmed as I felt my core temperature drop and hail on the tops started battering my face. At the point where the 100km route finished and the option was there to take the road back to Douglas, I couldn’t resist making the dream of a warm cup of tea come true!
We ate well that night and had another day in Douglas on Monday, spent mostly relaxing in cafes and by the sea. After a choppy start to the crossing back over the sea settled down and we were back in Heysham sooner than expected.
I can highly recommend the Manx 100, it’s a great way to see the island and ride the great trails on offer. I’ll have to go back to ride the trails I missed in the south of the island!