Sunday, 27 May 2012

Broken Spoke Sportive 2012

I'm not good at cycling when it's hot. Also although I can get up most climbs, I'm not fast up hill. I've also discovered that I much prefer courses where the hard bits are at the beginning and it's easier at the end. So all in all I was going to find the Broken Spoke Sportive difficult - and I did.

It didn't help that we did 21 miles in the first hour (at least it was fairly cool then) - and I thought to myself then that I would pay for that later.

The Broken Spoke Sportive started and finished at the Catholic High School in Chester - so there was the novelty that I could actually cycle to the start (only 2 miles from where I live). There was a quick check in, and some freebie gels and energy bars. There were two rides: the long route (85 miles) and a shorter route (55 miles). I chose the long route. The ride out to Bangor-on-Dee and St Martins was flat and quick. There was a well stocked food stop at St Martins (after about 28 miles).

Once we turned right at Pontfadog, the climbing began. I'd never been up this climb before, and got most of the way up it until it became too steep and I had to walk for 100 yards or so. However there was a great technical descent on the way down to Llangollen. I somehow managed to get lost and myself and another rider had to ride into Llangollen, over the bridge, and do the Horseshoe Pass right from the bottom. There always seems to a wind against you when you climb up the Horseshoe and today was no exception (!). Once over the top it was a fast descent into Ruthin, where there was another well stocked food stop - including baked beans on toast, coffee, buns, bananas and soft drinks.

Once out of Ruthin, we went over another hill I have never previously been up - and I never want to see it again. It's called Old Bwlch and it was another one I had to get off and walk. Although I managed to get back on again near the top so I was photographed cycling over the highest point.

Once after that there was a rolling route back to Chester, with one or two unexpected climbs along the way.

Positives: Very challenging route, great motorcycle marshalling, the best stocked food stops I've seen on a sportive, and good value for money (approx £20). Also the event raised money for the school which must be good. And last but not least, there was a friendly group of cyclists on the ride who mainly knew how to ride in a group.

Negatives (for me): Pretty awful time - and too hot - would prefer this on a day which was about 10 degrees cooler. At least I've now got well tanned arms and legs

Route below:

Earlier in the week, on Thursday 24th May to be precise, I did the Chester Road Club 10 mile TT on the Saighton course (D2/7). I tried using tri-bars this time - although I'm still not keen on using them. Got a time of 28:06 which was an improvement on the previous week (28:20). Will try to get down to sub 28 minutes next week. Good entry of 44 riders. Results are here

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