I met Chantal at the station and we cycled along the canal to the event village and start at the Eithiad Stadium. There was a great atmosphere here, with food stands, bike maintenance help from Edinburgh Bikes and the all important toilets which were (shock horror) actually clean! We were taking part in the 26 mile event, and as we arrived the 52 milers were just finishing. Well done you.
The route was good, very urban (ie city roads) but did take in some of Manchester's famous landmarks including the two football stadiums and the Beetham Tower. The freedom of riding on traffic free roads felt really nice and was way more enjoyable than riding with the traffic. It was also pretty flat with just a couple of short inclines, and there were little pockets of supporters dotted around the course. There was also an area halfway through the loop where you could stop for any maintenance issues, food or water if you needed to, which was reassuring even though we didn't use it.
As with everything, cycling with friends is way more enjoyable than going it alone and as a way more experienced cyclist than me, Chantal kept my pace up whilst also having a good natter and a catch up along the way. One lap of the route is the distance I'll have to cycle in the triathlon, which we covered in 47.55 which I was really happy with. If I manage that on the day after a swim and before the run I will be a very happy Crandon.
We were kindly given our places in the Great Manchester Cycle for free and they knew that I would be blogging about the event.