bikebritain Says May 5, 2014

wiggle New Forest Sportive Day 2

Day Two – ‘Epic’ (The Long One) – 138 km

Having cooked my own steak at the local pub on Saturday night and later enjoyed a much better sleep, I was feeling quite lively on Sunday morning. I would ride the long route today for definite I thought to myself. It was the same set up as the day before, although we had already signed in after the previous days ride, so once the bikes were assembled we were ready to go. By 07.45 we were on the road. The plan today was slightly different, since we would ride at our own pace. Emma started slightly before me and it took 10 minutes or so to overhaul her. 

I was riding in a pace line that seemed to go ok for a short time then slow right down and dither about. So in actual fact it was a ’non’ pace line. Time to go. I took the pace up and dumped it. One guy came with me and he headed off. I wanted to ride at a consistent rate today, and was keeping an eye on my split times. 32 km every 70 minutes. That's the target. I went through the first hour at 30 km and through 70 minutes at 35 km. This was an unsustainable pace. Plus my calf was hurting much more today. I was aware of it during every peddle stroke. I reached the food stop in 2 hrs dead, bar a couple of seconds, comfortably on course for my 160 km split times. 

When it came to the split in the road, turning right felt good. However, I knew I'd have to manage my pace more carefully during the second half of the ride. I rode for several kilometres across the heath, re-joining the country lanes thereafter. A couple of police cars were keeping an eye on us as we went. The second food stop came just before my 3 hr 30 split at about 94 km. I halted briefly, had a stretch and a few jelly babies and that was it. During the next sector my pace dropped off, losing 2 km against my standard splits. I felt fatigued and my right calf muscles were throbbing. I needed to refocus and get back 'in the zone'.

The saddle stem was slipping again and it was really bugging me. Every 15 km or so I would have to stop and tightened it up. I didn't want to over tighten it for fear of cracking the carbon stem, however, as things were, I had that continual 'sinking feeling'. I kept an eye on where I was on regarding stem position and rode on. I had my sights set on home once more. I had made a mental calculation that I should finish between 4 hrs 50 minutes and 54 minutes. I wanted to finish within this range, but this would require some serious application. I hammered the last 20 km. I don't think one pace line or cyclist overtook me. I thundered up the country lanes, being careful but also fast. I was averaging 30 km for this sector. I wondered whether I would catch up with Emma on the short circuit but I didn't see her. To my surprise, it transpired she was behind me. 

Same as before, I attacked the final run up to Matchams. This time there was much more traffic on the road, so my progress was somewhat thwarted. I finished with an unofficial ride time of, 4 hours 54 minutes and was suitably pleased with that. I waited for Emma to finish and took a couple of photos of her crossing the line. They are posted on the bikebritain fan page if you wish  to look. A couple of 'champion' pasties were eaten by a couple of vultures. It had been a superb weekend of cycling. I could hardly walk because of my calf, but I was satisfied with my performance. Emma had done a great job too, riding 210 km in two days.

The bikebritain scores for this Sportive are below:-

Category

Wiggle New Forest Sportive (combined scores Saturday & Sunday)

Website info

8

Event Venue (Car Parking, Toilets)

8

Sign in process

9

Event road signage (Directions and Warnings)

10

Route quality (Difficulty, Interest, Choices)

8

Food quality at rest

8

Ride Support (Mechanic Availability, Sag Waggon, Outriders)

8

Event product Testing

9

Freebies

9

Timing Post Event (accuracy)

10

Participant Friendliness

9

Ride-It-Again-Ability

9

Overall Value for Money

9

Total

87.6%


As you can see, this is both a very well organised event and one that benefits being set in a terrific location. I also think that providing a T-shirt and finisher medal instead of the 'bag of bits' that were previously given away is a better idea. There's a much greater possibility of me wearing a T shirt than using most of the contents of the old goodie bags. Good work wiggle and ukcyclingevents. Another GREAT ride in the New Forest. 

The bikebritain film of the weekend ride can be found here – http://www.bikebritain.org/video.php?id=86

An account of my ride down to Brockenhurst on Friday 11th April can be found here - http://www.bikebritain.org/article.php?id=209

Words, Thumbnail and Slider images - bikebritain Ltd

Postscript

 

Much debate occurred on twitter over that weekend over the rights and wrongs of the ride being held in the New Forest. As I mentioned, I did not see any evidence of tacks in the road, but apparently 15-20 riders did get punctures due to malicious intent. The behaviour of some participants at the main food stop was also brought into question, specifically using the forest opposite as a place to publically urinate. This did not help the negative publicity of the event, however it could be argued that the food stop was not the right size for the volume of cyclists using it at once. Personally it did not surprise me this was occurring since it happens at nearly every ride I’ve been on. Is it right? Probably not, but having more toilets available would help. For sure this event suffers from a subset of local people who simply do not want 1500 cyclist a day riding through their village – simple as that. I respect that point of view, but it saddens me. It is a beautiful part of the world, the event is held on public roads, why not embrace the event and relax alittle. Plus there’s a significant financial benefit to the cyclists being there. For example, I estimate we easily spent £400 that weekend, locally, taking into account of 2 nights accommodation, food, entrance fee’s, snack shopping, fuel and so on. All this aside, it’s still a great event – it is just a shame that the visiting cyclists cannot ride together a bit better with the locals.    

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