Sold as "The Toughest 3 day Sportive in Britain".
Well, in all honesty, it wasn't that bad. And more importantly, it was REALLY GOOD FUN!
The Route Map (note: Day 3 height scale is not the same as Day 1&2)
Saturday-Monday 25-27 May 2014. Based in Somerset and stretching into Dorset and Devon. 3 days, 350 miles. Lots of hills.
3 days, each approx 180km (112 miles, 116 and 116 miles for those of still measuring distances in feet, furlongs and miles and height in hands, inches and whatever else they used in the stoneage......). First 2 days 2,000m ascent and 3rd day 3,000metres (9,000 feet.....grrrr!!!)
Day 1 it rained. All day. Yes, ALL DAY. Our litle group of 7 riders (all riding separately due to differing abilities, and state of leg shaving) all invested heavily in new brake pads after rain, road grime and downhill nerves got the better of us. Still, it taught us all that 6.5 hrs in rain can be endured on a ride, if the views are good enough. Cheddar Gorge the highlight. Well that and Tracys home made chicken and ham pie, washed down with plenty of beer and wine in the evening! 173km, 2,000m, 6hrs 20mins moving. Ave speed 27.1 km/hr
Day 2 it didn't rain. This was definitely the highlight! Down to the South Coast near Ringwood. A stop over for Dave at his Mums for lunch (didnt invite us but we wont hold it against him). A fine day, and some glorious Dorset countryside. Wearing my new TdF kit I met a chap who knew someone doing Tour de Force, and we chatted for a while. I did a fair amount of peleton riding today with various groups. It's a noisy caper! I will never understand why EVERYONE seems to like to call out "Car up, Car back, Clear" etc. Ha ha. I put a huge sprint on for the last 8km, pulling away from a peleton which had dragged me along for 20km. It felt good, my own little bit of personal Glory......sort of. Showed i had a bit in reserve though. Chuffed with that, Beer and Ian L's chilli in the evening....... (with added BBQ zest ). Glorious mate, thankyou, and just what we needed. 191km, 1,900m, 7 hrs moving, Ave speed 27.2 km/h.
Day 3 it nearly rained all day, but in the end didn't rain at all. Result! This would have been the highlight had it not been for the incredible number of Alpine hairpins just after the lunch stop somewhere near Minehead. Great TdF training. 3,000m ascent. Felt good, no major problems and 2 pairs of riding shorts is definitely the way to go to avoid "sore saddle syndrome" . 185km, 2,700m, 7hrs 28 mins moving, Ave speed 24.8 km/hr. A tough day, but fun.
I rode every day just like the TdF will be....stopping at each feed stop for a short 5 or 10 min stop. Eating Scotch eggs, mini pasties, chicken masala sandwiches (yes REALLY!) and various jaffa cakes, chocolate crunchie thingies and of course every cyclists staple fruit..... bananas! Credit to the organisers, it was brilliant. Top tip to any budding Sufferlandrian....have a go at this event next year. Well organised, awesome routes, perfectly signed, great food....and apart from one grumpy parking attendant (only doing his job tho!)......a really happy bunch!!! And I got a medal Life's good.