bikebritain Says June 25, 2014

‘Kev’ aka wiggle Bournemouth Sportive

 31st May 2014 – Standard Course - 120 km

A few weeks ago I rode my fourth sportive of the year at wiggle’s event just outside of Bournemouth. This will be different to previous reviews because I’m not going to focus on the ride per se. Instead, I’m going to concentrate on one of the best parts of cycling – its social side.

This ride was everything you expect from wiggle/ukcyclingevents. The event venue, a sports complex opposite Bournemouth Airport (aka Hurn) was closely located to the New Forest Spring sportive held just up the road at Matchams. For an aeroplane geek like me, riding parallel to the runway was a thrill and I noted an eclectic jumble sale of an aircraft museum along the way. Parking and registration was as painless as usual. Again, the weather played its part. To date I’ve had the pleasure of riding over 4 days in this locality and it’s been sunny each time. I had signed up to the standard route, 120 km. It borrowed the ‘backside’ off the New Forest route then headed north and west. These roads were becoming familiar now.

I started just before 9 AM. I set a pace which pitched my finish time around 4 ½ hours later. I rode off the front of my start group and quickly caught up with the previous release of riders. I was making good progress, enjoying the empty roads and the countryside. Then, about, 20 minutes into my ride a fellow rider over took me and sat in front of my wheel. Dissatisfied, I overtook him and put some distance between us. However, it was not long before he overtook me again. I was sat behind his wheel again. I decided to draw up alongside him and exchange a few words. We then chatted for the rest of the ride. The rider in front was called ‘Kev’.

At a guess I would say I’ve ridden 40 + sportives. You would think that given everyone is fundamentally doing the same thing you’d meet many like-minded people, but that’s not been my experience. That said, the folks I have met, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed riding with and with respect to our Oregon mate ‘Californian Craig’, he’s now considered to be an integral reason for joining that tour. Perhaps it says more about my social skills or maybe it’s a comment on social skills in general, that this does not happen very often. Maybe it’s the nature of the event itself. I recently commented that finding people who are cycling at the same pace as you is difficult because it’s all down to chance. Perhaps chatting to people follows the same rules.

Like me, Kev was riding on his own. He was a relative local, from Winchester. This was practically home turf and to that point had ridden the New Forest sportive last year. We discussed the route, about his ride earlier in the year that Cycling Weekly had organised, indulged in bike porn banter and exchanged personal backgrounds. I found him to be genuinely interesting, a completely normal down-to-earth guy. He went into detail about his knee injuries that had ultimately forced him to stop playing football but had led him to cycling. He was alittle bigger than me, but this made no difference to his speed, particularly uphill. In most instances I am able to hold my own up hills with guys my size. Not in this instance. Kev was off, off and away. With plenty of power at his disposal it forced me to say leave me if you’re bored ‘waiting’ at the top. However my lack of climbing prowess on the day did not seem to bother him.

It is fair to say that overall Kev was stronger than me. We were charging along at a rate higher than I would have sustained on my own – another benefit of working together. Time and distance was zooming by. We stopped at the first stop only briefly, laughing that if we’d gone out for a 120 km ride on our own we probably would not have stopped at all. We did not even bother with the second one. During the last 25 km or so I took the pace up. I felt quite solid and until now Kev had been ‘ride leader’ for much of the time. I wasn’t used to that.  He was happy enough for me to manage the headwind and we continued back towards the finish.

I would have enjoyed the ride without the presence of Kev. However it was a different challenge for me to ride with someone who could drop me if he wanted to. It seemed only natural that we exchanged numbers at the end, on the premise of catching up at another sportive later in the year. I hope that happens. And regarding the ride? It’s on the ‘do again’ list.

Sportive Scores

Category

SRS Events Burgess Hill Springtime Sportive

Website info

9

Event venue (Car Parking, Toilets)

9

Sign in process

9

Event road signage (Directions and Warnings)

8

Route quality (Difficulty, Interest, Choices)

9

Food quality at rest

8

Ride Support (Mechanic Availability, Sag Waggon, Outriders)

8

Event product Testing

8

Freebies

9

Timing Post Event (accuracy)

10

Participant Friendliness

10

Ride-It-Again-Ability

10

Overall Value for Money

9

Total

89.2%

 

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