Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Central Manchester Games

On Saturday July 13 we left the house early and took the scenic route through the Peak district (by way of Leek and Macclesfield) to Manchester.  Unfortunately, for the first time, we're not going to the airport.  Fortunately, we were off to cheer on some of our friends competing in the CrossFit Central Manchester Games.  The morning started off in the Salford Quay for a swim event, with a nice view of nearby Old Trafford - home of Manchester United.  When I read the word "quay" I always want to say "Kwhey", but it's pronounced "Key", but you might know it better as a wharf.  Fortunately, no boats were docking during the event.

We were blessed with another sunny weekend, I think that's 3 in a row by this point?  Actually by now it's considered full-out HOT by the locals.  And I'm right there with them, having acclimated and because there's no A/C.  It's been hitting 28 C (over 80 F) in the house in the afternoon.  But, I did get through 3 days of a Phoenix summer without A/C when it was getting fixed and the temperature inside the house reached 88 F at night (31-32 C), so there's been nothing I haven't dealt with before.

We knew quite a few of the competitors from our friends at CrossFit Nottingham, Worksop, and Deviant (the new gym that opened in Derby).  Cordillia (Masters), Kristen, Laura, Llara (who placed well at Regionals in Copenhagen!), and Rob all qualified to compete on the day.

The first swim event was well-attended by the time we showed up at 9 am, and the first heats were already underway.  The Masters (age 40+) were up first.

Kristen and Laura were in the same heat, and they're off!

The strong swimmers were quick to create some distance

Here comes Kristen!

You have to pull yourself up to the dock unassisted after the swim 

After completing the 200m swim it was 75 burpees to finish!  Ouch, especially wearing the wetsuit (but the water was pretty cold)

We cheered for her to keep moving

I didn't get photos of all the competitors, so I do apologize.  After all the heats were done, there was a big move out to the rugby stadium well away from city center, near the M60, for the rest of the events.  We had some time to kill so we got some lunch, where we were able to get our parking validated at the Quay outlet stores - free garage parking near city center, nice!  And, parking at the stadium was free too, so this was one for the record books, ladies and gentlemen.

Here's the stadium, pretty much in the middle of a field

The actual events took place in a nearby outdoor arena with very high quality fake grass and soil made from rubber bits.  It was quite comfortable to walk on barefoot

The Titans!  Manchester's only American football team trains here too.

They had a nice Rogue rig set up for the events

As shade was a premium, some smart folks brought canopies.  It took a really long time for the event organizers to get going with the 2nd event - we were hanging out for a few hours

OK events getting started!

Cordillia did really well tying for 2nd overall in the Women's Masters division,  She totally SMASHED it!

Our crew with a make-shift lean-to using a goal and blankets.  That sun was starting to get hot!  With all the event delays and organization mishaps, it was almost more fun to just sit, hang out, and catch up with everyone!  There was access to free water, so that was a nice perk.
Holly and Max made an ice-cream run.  Being somewhat wise to UK ice cream (or so I thought), I was expecting them to find a van and come back with arm loads of Mr. Whippys with flake melting faster than they could pass them out.  But was I wrong.  They took individual orders, and came back with all sorts of named bars and "ice lollies" I'd never heard of before.  It went something like this:
"Ok who had the Magnum?"  "White or almond?"  "Oh no I had the Infinity"  "Ok here's your coronetto"  "I had a Solero" "Sorry, they were out, but here's a Calypso". 
Turns out all of the above have equivalents back in the US but we call them different things, that are no less odd sounding, like Dilly bars, Dreamsicles, and Otter pops.  Fun times.

I was having fun just goofing around in the spectator area, working on my tan, and chatting with everyone that I didn't take too many photos.  It was a really relaxing and fun day, in the end, with good memories made.  This post is pretty unspectacular, but the weekend felt really "normal" and made me sad that we have to leave soon.

What's this crazy flying car doing?  Oh it's just a nano-light glider, a popular recreational flying machine you can make in your backyard.  They were buzzing around all day by the nearby airfield.  I suppose it was a good day for it.  This picture, however, makes it look like a UFO.

Most of our friends were staying the night in Manchester, as there was a-whole-nother  day of competing on Sunday.  But we were on a tighter budget.  When the days events were closing, we decided to take off to grab dinner and head home.  There was a Nando's chicken place nearby, and we hadn't had that in like 4 or 5 months, so it was worth a revisit.  My main problem with Nando's is that I can make it myself for 1/3rd the cost:  butterfly a small chicken (cut the spine out and split the breast bone so it lays flat), rub with seasoning and salt, roast at 200 C for 45 minutes, then remove and let it rest for 10 minutes before enjoying.  Done and dusted.  But, when you're out traveling, then it is a nice option to have it done for you.

Oh, but you want the Piri-Piri sauce?  Well fortunately it's for sale in the grocery store, but it's not rocket surgery to figure out a clone recipe.

Anyway, the crazy part about this story is that the Nando's ended up being located inside an indoor skiing park.

Indoor skiing and snowboarding at the Chill Factore.

The Chill Factore is undeniably "cool".  Pun intended.  But there were lots of fun kid activities to be had, and even more things to do in the whole oasis of a shopping center.  It made Chuckee Cheese look pretty lame, I got to admit, but I imagine they strip parents of their quid in a very rapid fashion.

Anyway, let's wrap it up with pictures of cats lying in beds.


  1. The cats looks so happy. Little do they know what is in their near future...

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