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Tour of Wessex

rjh299rjh299 Posts: 721
Who's done this before and who's doing it this year? Just over a month to go.
My first time at this one and signed up for all 3 days, should be a good challenge.
Training's going ok so far, no 100 milers done yet this year so need to get some in soon. Two weeks off work coming up so gonna have to get to it, increase the milage and do some big back to back rides.
Anybody who's done this event before have any reviews, tips, recommendations?
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  • bigpiklebigpikle Posts: 1,690
    Your Past is Not Your Potential...
  • rjh299rjh299 Posts: 721
    Thanks for the link, didn't think of using search on my phone!
  • I did this last year in a not particularly impressive 23 hours +. But I had great fun, and this thread gives some great advice.

    http://www.bikeradar.com/forum/viewtopi ... highlight=

    Hardest thing was doing three back to back days, so eat like crazy in the evenings or you'll bonk on the final day. Not nice. Doing it again this year so see you there
    “I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle.”

    http://mendiprouleur.blogspot.com/
  • Andrew NAndrew N Posts: 119
    I have ridden (and enjoyed) the Saturday of the ToW on two separate occasions.

    It's a very well organised ride although suffered for a few years (can anyone remind me which?) from a lot of rain...not much fun for those camping over three days and then getting on their bikes.

    Oh yes, a tip. If the route goes down Cheddar Gorge (as it used to)...then take it easy...it's steep, narrow and I had a hell of scare going down it.

    Otherwise, enjoy!
    www.goinggoingbike.com
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  • topcattimtopcattim Posts: 766
    I'm giving it another go this year. I've been fated at this so far, having had to pull out due to illness once, and injury another year (and wimped out after one day due to weather on a third year). So far, I've only managed to complete Day One twice, once for a shortened version. This time, though, I'm hoping to complete all three days. I'm camping in the area, but having camped once on site and seen the quality of the facilities, I've chosen a nearby camp site. I think one of the real challenges will be to eat enough proper food in the evenings to keep me fuelled up....oh, and of course the other challenge will be to complete the course! I'm desperately trying to find time now to put in some longer rides, and more particularly, riding longer rides on consecutive days. See you there!
  • rjh299rjh299 Posts: 721
    Thanks for link. I think the pubs/restaurants in the area will do well over the weekend with everyone trying to refuel. Was considering camping but staying at a nearby travelodge instead, basic but you know what your getting. I'm just aiming for a finish, the medal times are way beyond me. Just got to curb my enthusiasm early on, because if I don't, I'm sure the 300 miles will!
  • bigpiklebigpikle Posts: 1,690
    my first attempt this year and going for all 3 days, with a couple of mates.

    My parents live about 30 mins drive from the start so I'm crashing there and hopefully will get loads of good home cooking in the evenings! Done 2500 miles already since 1st Jan this year so hopeful that I'm got the legs, although will be taking it very easy on days 1 & 2 to try and survive day 3. Nervous right now though!
    Your Past is Not Your Potential...
  • topcattimtopcattim Posts: 766
    bigpikle wrote:
    Done 2500 miles already since 1st Jan this year so hopeful that I'm got the legs

    That is a load of miles to have covered this year. I've only just crossed the 1000 mile mark and am definitely feeling a bit underprepared.

    I've been looking at the times required for a bronze. In my age group, a silver requires an average speed of 18 mph (that's without factoring in any time at the feed stops). Looks like the best I can aim for will be a bronze then...
  • bigpiklebigpikle Posts: 1,690
    definitely bronze at best for me...
    Your Past is Not Your Potential...
  • richiebonesrichiebones Posts: 379
    the feedstations were pretty rubbish on all three days last year, the first one on day three wasnt even there in time for the early straters! so take a few extra gels.
    oh and they say the usual stuff about not pissing in public but then dont provide any toliets......not a big issue for the blokes.......major problem for the girls in my group especially at the feed station on the top of exmoor....not a tree in sight.

    dont expect a goodie bag or free food at the end or any machanical support other than the broom wagon.

    so, apart from average at best support its a great ride!
  • rjh299rjh299 Posts: 721
    Alright one week to go. Who's ready for it? I've racked up a few miles recently and feeling pretty good, just got to ease down for the rest of the week now. Hope this wind dies down before the weekend, could be tough if it's as bad as it was today.
    Anyone booked the breakfast they provide or done so in previous years?
    Staying at a Travelodge doesn't leave many other options.
  • FransJacquesFransJacques Posts: 2,148
    £85 for 3 days riding + gas/diesel + hotels + dinners? No thanks.

    £80 is ridiculous, unless of course they pedal the bike for me while I'm in the van with the fluffers.

    Only the last day is really nice. The forest is is lovely and low on cars.
    When a cyclist has a disagreement with a car; it's not who's right, it's who's left.
  • richiebonesrichiebones Posts: 379
    have you done 3 back to back hilly century rides?

    thats the attraction to this sportive
  • topcattimtopcattim Posts: 766
    rjh299 wrote:
    Anyone booked the breakfast they provide or done so in previous years?
    I did the ToW a couple of years ago, and when I registered I looked over to see what the pre-booked breakfast offered. I can't remember the detail but it looked pretty unappetising and poor value, there was certainly a bowl of porridge but I can't remember if there was anything else. Certainly I felt at the time that I had made the right decision by not booking the breakfast. I'm camping over, not at the official campsite, and plan some of my own instant porridge each morning.

    Checked the weather just now, and it doesn't look too good. In particular the forecast for Saturday looks pretty wet... :(
  • 9jan119jan11 Posts: 67
    I was going to enter the Monday ride, as this is by far the best route - but £30!!!

    It actually says £25 then adds £5 VAT at checkout for good measure - nice one!

    Thankfully entry is now closed, so I won't be able to enter in a moment of weakness.

    Perhaps I'll do the Monday route on Sunday, by myself and for free!

    After the Black Rat shambles I'll think twice before parting with any more hard earned for what is after all essentially a road ride.
  • markp2markp2 Posts: 162
    I'm doing the Saturday only. Entered for the longer ride but may change to the 73 miler on the day if the weather breaks.
    I've done it twice before and enjoy the fact that it is on a Saturday which allows me to go racing sailing dinghies on the Sunday!
    Genesis Croix de Fer - my new commuting mount
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  • jhopjhop Posts: 369
    I too like riding on Saturdays and reckon there could well be quite a bit of interest if other organisers started to offer more such events.
    TOW has had its fair share of bad weather over the years I hope after this glorious spring/early summer that it stays fine this weekend. BBC seem to be predicting some rain on Saturday though.
  • rjh299rjh299 Posts: 721
    Wet weather gear will be packed and used well by the looks of it aswell. It is a quite a bit of money by the time you factor in entry, petrol, hotel, food and all but I knew that when I signed up so don't begrudge paying it. Hopefully some will do all the stages because I may need some help come day 3.
  • topcattimtopcattim Posts: 766
    Wet weather gear will be packed and used well by the looks of it aswell. It is a quite a bit of money by the time you factor in entry, petrol, hotel, food and all but I knew that when I signed up so don't begrudge paying it. Hopefully some will do all the stages because I may need some help come day 3.
    I've been watching the weather forecast closely this week and am pleased to see it improving. I guess it is a bit tricky to be too accurate in that part of the country, but it looks as though most of the rain will be dumped on Sunday night metcheck forecast for Sunday night/Monday morning [EDIT: now updated to show rain Sunday evening but not Monday, :) ], when I will no doubt be sleeping well in my little tent. Like you, I'm aiming for all three, and somehow suspect that my average speed may deteriorate slightly over the three days. I think pacing, and feeding, will be my two main issues this weekend.
  • did day one last year, weather was dreadful... hoping for better this year cos i'm doing all three days with a couple of mates
    a Bianchi is for life... not just for christmas
  • bigpiklebigpikle Posts: 1,690
    day 1 out the way - bloody windy all day long and a few showers, but nothing too serious.

    Very good feedstops, with china cups of tea and coffee at the 2nd, and even had people wandering around with trays of snacks - never had waiter service at a feedstop before! VERY well signposted all the way and cant fault the standards so far.

    Tough old 109 miles today, 2 more hilly old days to go! Cheddar Gorge was great although King Alfreds Tower was a beast and saw several people walking...
    Your Past is Not Your Potential...
  • rjh299rjh299 Posts: 721
    It was bloody windy today, made an easyish course a real challenge. Thanks to anyone who put up with me hanging onto their wheel. Tomorrow's longer but flatter, if the wind stays away I may make it to the end!
  • topcattimtopcattim Posts: 766
    Yup it was a tough day. Achieved my two goals: to finish and to climb Alfreds Tower without getting off. What I want to know is how the wind can be 70 - 80% in your face all the way round a circular ride?!

    Agree about the good feedstops though. Well stocked, good choice of food. Also great to be able to buy a bacon bap at the finish. Not sure I agree about the signage though. I thought there were long stretches without signs to confirm you were on the right route (e.g. through Mere) and there were a few dangerous junctions at the bottom of hills that could have done with a "Caution" sign. And it would have been helpful to have had countdowns or at least a bit of warning that the feedstops were coming up and even better a "You're nearly there" countdown to the finish.

    South westerly crosswind forecast for tomorrow along with some early rain. Could make things interesting.
  • topcattimtopcattim Posts: 766
    Day Two done. Longer than Day One but I found it easier as it was so much less windy. There were lots of good groups around and some great scenery, across the Lulworth ranges in particular. Signage seemed better today and the feed stops were really good again, well stocked, good choice of food, and the cheese rolls at the Wareham feed stop were very welcome. All in all a well organised and enjoyable day.

    Rain forecast for tomorrow though :cry:
  • bigpiklebigpikle Posts: 1,690
    ^^ agree with all of that...

    Strangley my legs felt much fresher today, but it was still a damn long day in the saddle and >7000ft of hills! Thank goodness my group of buddies waited for me at the top of the climbs and we had some really good pace lines running...

    Toughest day to come tomorrow on roads I'm pretty familiar with, and I really dont fancy it in thrashing rain :(
    Your Past is Not Your Potential...
  • topcattimtopcattim Posts: 766
    Well, that's Day Three done. Hideous weather to start, and then of course the sun comes out just as we finish. I don't think I've ever spent that long in a saddle at such a slow average speed. My mate punctured at about 15 miles which broke whatever rhythm we were establishing. And then came Dunkery Beacon, boy that was tough.

    So, all three days done and a baseline set to compare against for future years. I'd love to come back, a really well organised event. Just need some better weather!
  • rjh299rjh299 Posts: 721
    Hell of a slog today, wet and cold. Two punctures and the hardest climb I've ever done. Glad to have finshed all three days. Well done everyone who also did, especially after today!
  • PendragonPendragon Posts: 94
    Thank you all for coming down to the West Country.

    Results have been posted on the website: http://www.pendragon-sports.com/pendrag ... aspx?id=31
  • topcattimtopcattim Posts: 766
    Pendragon wrote:
    Thank you all for coming down to the West Country.

    Results have been posted on the website: http://www.pendragon-sports.com/pendrag ... aspx?id=31

    Pendragon: thanks for posting the results. But I can't open the combined 3 day results which it says are saved as an application/octet-stream, whatever that is. Any chance of reformatting them into an excel file, like the others?
  • GeorgeShawGeorgeShaw Posts: 764
    topcattim wrote:
    Pendragon wrote:
    Thank you all for coming down to the West Country.

    Results have been posted on the website: http://www.pendragon-sports.com/pendrag ... aspx?id=31

    Pendragon: thanks for posting the results. But I can't open the combined 3 day results which it says are saved as an application/octet-stream, whatever that is. Any chance of reformatting them into an excel file, like the others?

    It is an excel file, it's just missing the xls extension in the file name. Either open it directly using Excel or save it as an xls file and open it on your machine.
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