Monday, 30 May 2011

Tour of We

Or 2/3rds of Tour of Wessex.

Yes, I wimped out on day three. Tired legs (from about 20 miles in on day 2) and a forecast for persistent rain swung the will-I-enjoy-this-ometer firmly into the "Hell No" zone. Having spent most of the day sleeping and eating pizza and cake I think I made the right choice.

Day one was windy, showery, hilly, occasionally picturesque and windy. Did I mention windy? I rode most of the way round with Darren, having let Jon, Phill and Phill's friend Chris escape into the distance. I remember the climb up Cheddar Gorge, the second feed station (with little old ladies serving tea and coffee in china cups!), Darren chatting to a young lady for 30 miles (she kept trying to get away but she just wasn't quick enough), the climb up to King Alfred's Tower (ouchy) and Darren's dodgy knee making an appearance again. I also remember Becky (of the Brownies) arriving back at the campsite after getting round the 73 mile route - an amazing achievement when her longest previous ride was about 25 miles.

Day two was hilly, often picturesque, occasionally sunny, windy and hilly. Did I mention hilly? Darren had to turn back after the first 2km - broken knee - and there was a resolution from the team to "take it easy". To be fair, I managed to stay with the others for most of the first section, only to lose them after the feed station and have to ride most of the next 30 miles solo, into the wind. Still - it was pretty - Lulworth Cove, Corfe Castle, some other rolling hills covered in green stuff. I think I saw the sea, but I was concentrating on not crashing on a steep descent so paid it little attention.

Ah, descents. 70kph/43mph on one, narrow and twisty through the trees. I was back with Phill and Jon at that point; I'd caught up at the second feed stop and sat behind the pair of them as they towed a group along, into the wind. I managed to hang on for most of the way back, before blowing up in impressive fashion 10km from the end. I even needed a caffiene gel with 2km to go - I was never going to make it otherwise.

So, 363km/227m in two days, lots of up, lots of down and lots of wind. I don't think I'd do the event again - the whole concept of multiple daily loops from one place gave the feeling of not really getting anywhere. The camping facilities were poor, the "event village" more of a hamlet and it wasn't great value either. Compared to something like TwentyFour12 it was a bit disappointing - I guess it goes to show that mountain bikers party better than roadies.
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