Sunday just gone saw my annual participation in the Liverpool-Chester-Liverpool (LCL) bike ride. Some of you may know that it was my first ever cycle event when I dragged my aching body and a borrowed rickety mountain bike round a 50-mile course, and I’ve continued to do it each year since.
In more recent times I’ve been taking the preparation a bit more seriously and have each year tackled the 100-mile challenge which takes in some hilly part of Cheshire, namely Helsby and Frodsham before heading to Chester and back to Liverpool. It’s a great event, and one that gives riders the opportunity to experience cycling through a traffic-free Mersey Tunnel.
Lack of public transport meant an early start for me, leaving a 6.15am to cycle from the Wirral through the tunnel to the start of the event at the Liverpool entrance of the tunnel. After meeting up with my 6 other riders we were away shortly after 7am, with 100-miles of road ahead of us.
For anyone who is familiar with the Queensway Tunnel (or Birkenhead tunnel as it’s known locally) it was opened in 1934 and ordinarily isn’t readily used by cyclists. It is permissible to pass through in the week between the hours of 8pm and 7am, but that experience probably isn’t for the faint of heart. The annual LCL event is therefore the ideal opportunity to head through the ‘Old Tunnel’ in relative safety.
Last year I’d fairly hammered round the course completing the event at a fairly respectable 17mph. Strangely the GPX file for the route comes out as just over 97 miles so I suspect that anyone intending to use this event as their first century ride wouldn’t be best pleased to discover they were just shy of the landmark. With my cycle to the start I was already guaranteed to be over the 100-mile milestone.
This year I felt stronger than ever before. It’s rare that you get one of those days when you just feel that everything has come together and all those training miles are starting to pay off. I also put down my performance to my first use of some Chia Charge bars. I’d used chia seeds before but these bars were the bomb and I felt supercharged using them throughout. Even though I’m not sponsored by them or paid anything for giving them a plug I can heartily recommend them for those looking for an alternative to gels (the peanut butter ones are especially yummy!).
Stats for Sunday event as follows:
After completing the event and taking the train from Liverpool back to the Wirral (we weren’t allowed to cycle back through as the tunnel was open to traffic again) but unfortunately the trains had a problems so we had to depart the train at Birkenhead and then cycle the remaining 5 miles back home. I suppose you could consider it a thorough warm down after the event.
All in all a great event, great weather and company, and I've now passed 2,000 miles for the year. Long may this cycling summer continue.
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