Posted Monday 9th April 2011 –
The Tank Museum is a great venue for a sportive, maybe it could have done with some changing facilities but it gets the thumbs up from me for the fact that my wife and son could spend the morning looking round the museum whilst I headed out to ride the Wiggle Super Series Jurassic Beast.
Being fairly late to arrive registration was quiet and there was no need to queue to sign on so I picked up my number whilst a self adhesive timing chip was attached to my helmet and I was ready to head to the start. With my wife and son spending the morning at the museum I was under strict intructions to ride fast and get back in time for lunch so I was only planning to do the standard distance and aiming for under 4 hours (I did notice on the gpx download site it had a target time of 2-3 hours which seemed a bit ambitious!)
I made it to the start line at around 9:30, one of the problems of starting late is most people had long gone and I was starting on my own, so after a quick briefing from Martin I headed off to try and catch up with some other riders. The wind made it quite tough riding alone and whilst I did pass a few groups I tried to stick to my own pace and pushed on to the first feed stop.
Whilst the first feed stop was in a great picturesque location I didn’t stop for too long and just grabbed a mouthful of jelly beans and a 9-Bar energy bar for later before heading down a fast descent towards the sea.
The section along the coast from Lulworth to Kimmeridge had some stunning views along with plenty of ups and downs on mainly quite country lanes. Given the sunny weather I was actually surprised how quite a lot of the roads were with the only real traffic around Corfe Castle which the route looped past twice from different directions. It was good to see the organisers had stationed a marshall at the busy junction below corfe castle where the route crossed back over itself.
The course turned out to be a bit hillier than expected and that was even before reaching the final sting in the tail; a steep climb just after 80km that seemed to have many riders weaving across the road and a few off and walking as tired legs started to take their toll. Thankfully this was followed by a long fast descent as the kilometres ticked past towards the finish.
It felt like most of the day was spent riding in to the wind so I’d convinced myself once the route finally turned for home the wind would be behind us. That turned out to be wishful thinking and the final open section before the end seemed to be a long gradual incline into the wind which turned out to be a really struggle to maintain any decent speed.
I rolled across the line to collect my finishers medal and goody bag with a time of 3h 49m for the standard route.
Route – Having only ridden the standard distance I can’t comment on the extra course that made up the epic distance. The route I rode was a fair bit hillier than I expected, nothing mega steep, but through the middle section of the route the hills just seemed to keep coming with the final steep hill at around 80km ensuring a bit of a sting in the tail for tired legs which had a few riders off and walking. The climbs brought some wonderful long fast descents and the route is worth riding for them and the picturesque views along the coast section and around Corfe Castle.
Signage – White arrows on red background along with caution and slow down warning signs where appropriate. The signs were easy to follow and whilst I rode with a gps I didn’t need to look at the route on it once.
Feed Stations – The first feed stop on the standard route has to be a contender for the most picturesque feed station location with some stunning views out to sea. In total two feed stops on the standard route which were well stocked with food and drink. I really like the idea of the ‘food to eat now and food to take with you’ approach where there’s jelly beans, flapjack, etc to eat whilst at the stop then a bar or gel to take away with you to eat on the bike.
Timing – Adhesive electronic timing chips attached to the side of your helmet. They work, not much else you can say. It seemed to be the same system that was used at the Wiggle Cheshire Cat but without any of the problems/delays.
Summary – The UK Cycling Events guys have been running events for a while now and they’ve got a pretty slick setup from the rider briefing e-mailed out before the event right through to the post event e-mail sent out on Sunday evening with the link to the results. The south coast is a great place to ride, with some stunning views and more than enough hills to add a bit of a challenge. Add in the sunny weather we had and there’s not really much to complain about. If they could have turned the head wind into a tail wind for the last 20k it would have been perfect 🙂
If you rode this event please let us know what you thought using the comments section below.