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Hell of the Ashdown

rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
Is anyone doing it this weekend? Just wonering what I'm in for...
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  • I'm also doing it this weekend. I did it a couple of years ago when it was freezing cold and icy. It looks like the weather will be very nice for it this weekend.

    There are a couple of challenging climbs, most notable the one they call "the Wall" which is about 25 - 30 miles in. It's very straight and steep in parts. The last one, Star Hill, is tough as well.

    If you're relatively fit you'll be fine. It's a good event and well organised with some great views so I hope you have a blast.
  • phreakphreak Posts: 2,365
    I've done it the last three years and it's a decent early season workout. Think a few people grumbled last year about the weather, but I've always found the organisation to be pretty good.

    Not doing it this year though as the cost was too high for riding on roads I do a lot anyway.
  • I Did it last year and am down to do it Sunday. The organisation at the HQ was fine and the route good. The downsides last year were censored parking. You've basically got to park in Residential roads which were all packed around the school/HQ. I'd suggest driving in your cycling kit as you'll probably be changing in front of someones front room window or in your car. The food stops were also pretty dire, Last year all they had was inedible green Bananas, hopefully they've got better for this year. It's a nice ride but bigging it up as 'hell' is very OTT.
  • phreakphreak Posts: 2,365
    I think the hell reference was mainly down to the weather to be honest. Every year I've done it there has been either snow or ice. The ride itself is reasonably challenging but nothing that tough, but with bad conditions it made it an interesting ride. Think they moved it back a few weeks to aim for better weather this year, which whilst looking like that will be the case, it will make the ride less of a challenge.
  • TheStoneTheStone Posts: 2,291
    Weather looking great.
    Done hardly anything since July, could be a long tough 6 hour slog!
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  • I'm down for it and can't wait :D
  • im in with 3 of my mates, looking forward to it weather looks good so nice early season tester
  • GazzaputtGazzaputt Posts: 3,227
    Brakeless wrote:
    I Did it last year and am down to do it Sunday. The organisation at the HQ was fine and the route good. The downsides last year were censored parking. You've basically got to park in Residential roads which were all packed around the school/HQ. I'd suggest driving in your cycling kit as you'll probably be changing in front of someones front room window or in your car. The food stops were also pretty dire, Last year all they had was inedible green Bananas, hopefully they've got better for this year. It's a nice ride but bigging it up as 'hell' is very OTT.

    +1

    censored parking, censored feed stations, censored organisation (based on the bad weather a couple of years back when it should have been cancelled) but the route isn't bad. For the money there are far far better events IMO.
  • that dont sound good, traveling from peterboroughaswell
  • phreakphreak Posts: 2,365
    Gazzaputt wrote:
    Brakeless wrote:
    I Did it last year and am down to do it Sunday. The organisation at the HQ was fine and the route good. The downsides last year were censored parking. You've basically got to park in Residential roads which were all packed around the school/HQ. I'd suggest driving in your cycling kit as you'll probably be changing in front of someones front room window or in your car. The food stops were also pretty dire, Last year all they had was inedible green Bananas, hopefully they've got better for this year. It's a nice ride but bigging it up as 'hell' is very OTT.

    +1

    censored parking, censored feed stations, censored organisation (based on the bad weather a couple of years back when it should have been cancelled) but the route isn't bad. For the money there are far far better events IMO.

    That's over the top. It's a shade over 100km for goodness sake, how much feeding do you need? Have a good breakfast, some energy drink in your bottles and maybe 1 banana/bar/gel if you need it and that should get you round without any problems.

    It is expensive this year because of the donation to Herne Hill but boy do some folks whinge about petty stuff. Man up a little. It's a sportive, they're not expected to wipe your bum on the way round for you.
  • Gazzaputt wrote:
    Brakeless wrote:
    I Did it last year and am down to do it Sunday. The organisation at the HQ was fine and the route good. The downsides last year were censored parking. You've basically got to park in Residential roads which were all packed around the school/HQ. I'd suggest driving in your cycling kit as you'll probably be changing in front of someones front room window or in your car. The food stops were also pretty dire, Last year all they had was inedible green Bananas, hopefully they've got better for this year. It's a nice ride but bigging it up as 'hell' is very OTT.

    +1

    censored parking, censored feed stations, censored organisation (based on the bad weather a couple of years back when it should have been cancelled) but the route isn't bad. For the money there are far far better events IMO.

    Why should the event have been cancelled? When it is -3 in the car park you decide for yourself if you should ride on roads which were obviously going to be icy after the rain the previous day, absolutely nothing to do with censored organisation, they told riders it was going to be icy and let them make their own decisions, it is called being an adult and taking responsibility for yourself!
    They have made more parking available this year, and promised that the feed stations will be much improved.
    In answer to the original post it is a fairly tough course so early in the year, which is usually made even harder by the weather, 3 years ago they had blizzards, 2 years ago the aforementioned ice, which is why it is now at the end of Feb instead of Jan. However the forecast looks good for Sunday, so hopefully we have lucked in!
    Top tip for any first timers, do not get caught out by Cudham test hill in the first few miles of the course, it gets very steep at the top so start spinning early!
  • GazzaputtGazzaputt Posts: 3,227
    phreak wrote:
    Gazzaputt wrote:
    Brakeless wrote:
    I Did it last year and am down to do it Sunday. The organisation at the HQ was fine and the route good. The downsides last year were censored parking. You've basically got to park in Residential roads which were all packed around the school/HQ. I'd suggest driving in your cycling kit as you'll probably be changing in front of someones front room window or in your car. The food stops were also pretty dire, Last year all they had was inedible green Bananas, hopefully they've got better for this year. It's a nice ride but bigging it up as 'hell' is very OTT.

    +1

    censored parking, censored feed stations, censored organisation (based on the bad weather a couple of years back when it should have been cancelled) but the route isn't bad. For the money there are far far better events IMO.

    That's over the top. It's a shade over 100km for goodness sake, how much feeding do you need? Have a good breakfast, some energy drink in your bottles and maybe 1 banana/bar/gel if you need it and that should get you round without any problems.

    It is expensive this year because of the donation to Herne Hill but boy do some folks whinge about petty stuff. Man up a little. It's a sportive, they're not expected to wipe your bum on the way round for you.

    If i'm paying £25 then I'd expect more than halved green bananas. Most other sportives in the same area charge £20 give a charity donation and provide decent feed stations and also food at the finish included in that price. Kentish Killer and the VO2 ride spring to mind.

    As for the year when conditions where extremely hazardous yes they said the course was icy but failed to mention junctions covered in sheet ice on the decent to Brasted. Were some serious injuries here and the same had happened the year previous.
  • phreakphreak Posts: 2,365
    Then vote with your feet, it's simple isn't it? :) I've found the price too high this year so won't be riding it. I'll just do much of the same roads on my own steam instead, taking my own food with me for the ride round. Reckon for the money I can get a nice lunch at the end too.

    As for the weather, that can happen on any ride at that time of year. It's a hazard of riding the lanes during winter I'm afraid. We just have to use the best information we have and take it easy. No point going hell for leather at this time of year, especially if it's risky to do so :)
  • phreak wrote:
    Gazzaputt wrote:
    Brakeless wrote:
    I Did it last year and am down to do it Sunday. The organisation at the HQ was fine and the route good. The downsides last year were censored parking. You've basically got to park in Residential roads which were all packed around the school/HQ. I'd suggest driving in your cycling kit as you'll probably be changing in front of someones front room window or in your car. The food stops were also pretty dire, Last year all they had was inedible green Bananas, hopefully they've got better for this year. It's a nice ride but bigging it up as 'hell' is very OTT.

    +1

    censored parking, censored feed stations, censored organisation (based on the bad weather a couple of years back when it should have been cancelled) but the route isn't bad. For the money there are far far better events IMO.

    That's over the top. It's a shade over 100km for goodness sake, how much feeding do you need? Have a good breakfast, some energy drink in your bottles and maybe 1 banana/bar/gel if you need it and that should get you round without any problems.

    It is expensive this year because of the donation to Herne Hill but boy do some folks whinge about petty stuff. Man up a little. It's a sportive, they're not expected to wipe your bum on the way round for you.

    Why is it over the top. It's fact! If a sportive advertises feed stops then they should supply something to eat. It's got nothing to do with what a rider is capable of, I can quite happily ride as far as I like under my own steam thanks but if I pay for a route with feed stops then I expect feedstops, no ones asking for a 3 course meal, just something that is actually edible. As for telling people who you don't know to 'man up' shows that you think yourself superior to them but the reality is it show's you to be a bit of a prat. And as for expecting my censored wiped I can assure you that that's the last thing I need so when someone describes exactly what last years event was like maybe you should either add something useful or nothing at all.
  • phreakphreak Posts: 2,365
    My post was in response to Gazzaputt calling everything censored . It is expensive this year but rather than moaning about it vote with your wallet. On a longer ride where it's harder to supply your own food in sufficient quantity then it may have merit, but on a 100km ride to base your feedback of the event on the foodstop is silly in my opinion. It seems for so many that it really isn't about the bike.

    And it's not fact, it's your opinion. I also did the ride last year and found all of the things you and Gazzaputt complained about absolutely fine. It seems to me that a lot of people just like to moan about stuff.
  • phreak wrote:
    My post was in response to Gazzaputt calling everything censored . It is expensive this year but rather than moaning about it vote with your wallet. On a longer ride where it's harder to supply your own food in sufficient quantity then it may have merit, but on a 100km ride to base your feedback of the event on the foodstop is silly in my opinion. It seems for so many that it really isn't about the bike.

    And it's not fact, it's your opinion. I also did the ride last year and found all of the things you and Gazzaputt complained about absolutely fine. It seems to me that a lot of people just like to moan about stuff.

    HQ Fine - Fact
    Route Good - Fact
    Parking on Residential Roads - Fact
    Only Food at feedstops - Green Bananas - Fact

    Nothing to do with moaning or opinion.
  • phreakphreak Posts: 2,365
    :lol: but it's not. There is a car park opposite the school. It's not a huge one, but it is there, so you don't have to park on residential streets. Likewise not all the food at the stops were bananas. They give you a free energy bar when you start out if memory serves me, why not just eat that if you're that hungry?
  • GazzaputtGazzaputt Posts: 3,227
    phreak wrote:
    My post was in response to Gazzaputt calling everything censored . It is expensive this year but rather than moaning about it vote with your wallet. On a longer ride where it's harder to supply your own food in sufficient quantity then it may have merit, but on a 100km ride to base your feedback of the event on the foodstop is silly in my opinion. It seems for so many that it really isn't about the bike.

    And it's not fact, it's your opinion. I also did the ride last year and found all of the things you and Gazzaputt complained about absolutely fine. It seems to me that a lot of people just like to moan about stuff.

    I have voted with my feet this year :lol:

    I don't use the feed stations but has said here if they are advertised and you are paying a premium then you expect a certain standard.

    If your paying £25 surely you expect a lot more than if you were riding under your own steam?
  • Gazzaputt wrote:
    phreak wrote:
    My post was in response to Gazzaputt calling everything censored . It is expensive this year but rather than moaning about it vote with your wallet. On a longer ride where it's harder to supply your own food in sufficient quantity then it may have merit, but on a 100km ride to base your feedback of the event on the foodstop is silly in my opinion. It seems for so many that it really isn't about the bike.

    And it's not fact, it's your opinion. I also did the ride last year and found all of the things you and Gazzaputt complained about absolutely fine. It seems to me that a lot of people just like to moan about stuff.

    I have voted with my feet this year :lol:

    I don't use the feed stations but has said here if they are advertised and you are paying a premium then you expect a certain standard.

    If your paying £25 surely you expect a lot more than if you were riding under your own steam?

    So you complain about feed stations you admit you did not use, and organisation that had no control over the snap frost that occurred that morning(they checked the route earlier in the morning and it was ice free, the ice then formed later in the morning just before the ride started, so they knew there was ice but not where it was).
  • Phreak I really like "for some it's defo not about the bike", but you cannot refuse other's right to complain about value for money or inconvenience based on their experiences. £25 for a ride any of us could do any day of the year is steep. They voted with their wallets and are talking about last year when they did pay.

    Riders must remember it's up to them if you ride or not if conditions are bad. Don't expect the organziers to wipe your butt for you if you crash, their insurance is very specific. The principle or participant's own judgement is very ingrained in sailing where when it's blowing 40 knots most race committees would cancel racing, but most will start a race in say 25-30 knots and it's completely up to the skipper whether he/she thinks the boat and crew are fit enough to take part. End of. Trust me, no one on sailing forums says "I can't believe the race committee started us in that". They take responsability and head back to the dock and are frankly glad to avoid damage.
    When a cyclist has a disagreement with a car; it's not who's right, it's who's left.
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    I'm doing it mainly because I havent done a ride in that part of the country before. As a 38yr old adult I can make my own mind up about whether its safe to ride on a road, so I wouldnt moan on about whether another adult has done my thinking for me or not. With the forecast being for 6-10 degrees, dry conditions and 5mph wind, I expect its all academic this year anyway.

    As for the cost, the £25 entry fee is nothing compared to the fuel bill for the Freelander and the two nights in a Travelodge I'm laying out for as I'm spending the whole weekend in the area. So, I don't really care too much what is included. As long as the route is good and well signposted I'll be happy.

    I'd be a bit disappointed if I got to the feed station and there was nothing available, but I always carry my own food anyway, just in case. I'd be much more annoyed if there's nothing hot to eat at the END of the ride though, because I cant carry a hot plate of pasta with me on the ride! ;-)
  • MccariaMccaria Posts: 869
    not doing it this year - didn't get my act together in time.

    Rode on part of the course today - around Brasted and Baileys Hill. Roads are not brilliant and the farmers have been out and about quite a bit, so there is quite a bit of muck on the road. Would probably want some pretty resilient wheels and tyres.
  • IMPORTANT RIDER INFO There is a road closure at Blowers Hill so I re routed around it , shouldn't be a problem same distance and all sign posted and will be marshalled.
    Here is a map link
    http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?saddr=Uckfield+Ln&daddr=Spode+Ln+to:High+St&hl=en&sll=51.156954,0.094156&sspn=0.031007,0.055189&geocode=FX27DAMdMakBAA%3BFY6tDAMd4EEBAA%3BFY9mDAMdmGsBAA&gl=uk&mra=mi&mrsp=2&sz=14&t=m&z=14
    At 14.0 miles you will now turn right
    approx 15 miles straight over Xrds B2026 to Spode Lane.
    approx 16.5 miles Turn Right at T Junction in Cowden towards Holtye

    back on route :D
  • What a brilliant day out cycling that was!

    Excellent route, Excellent Marshalling, Good feed stops and a good High 5 feebie at the end more than justified the cost!
  • That was one of the best sportives I have taken part in...the feed stations were most impressive with lots of cake, bars, gels, (ripe!) bananas and drinks.

    There were also plenty of marshals out on the more critical junctions and the signage was excellent.

    Even at the finish back at the HQ there was a guy giving out free snacks and the High 5 race pack was a bonus.

    Not to mention the massage I got afterwards (for free, but with donations to Herne Hill) so I was happy to donate a tenner for that!

    My only niggle was that many riders showed poor riding skills and road positoning but the organiser cannot do much about that. Maybe it is because it is the first big ride of many riders this season.
  • Thanks and well done Catford CC for a really well organised event today - even down to the lovely weather. :)
    Good value for the £25 entry..... just my opinion though..... :lol:
  • porker33porker33 Posts: 636
    I was impressed that "Team Sky" had such a good representation, there must have been 30+ of their riders.....somehow I managed to go past most of them.....do they start the season off really, really slowly and then put the hammer down when the tours start? :D

    Great event as ever Catford!
  • phreakphreak Posts: 2,365
    Did some of the route today and there looked a great turnout and the marshalling looked really good.
  • well for all the comments on here good and bad, here are my own !!
    arrived at 730 for 824 start parked ok but limited on site as advised, checked in smooth, had a coffee in the cafe with great friendley service, start at 8.24 with the sunshining was a great start to the day, the course was well marshalled and well signposted, first feed station at 21 miles busy but everything you wanted drink, food bananas (not green) energy bars and gels, 2nd part of the course good hills and decents some of the smaller off roads was pot holes and loose gravel but nothing i have not come across before on other rides, baleys hill was a rip snorter and had me burning :) (here is my first gripe of the day needed feed station after that hill) but only had to wait 2 miles to 2nd feed stop same as the first great well stocked with everything (2nd gripe why do people go to the tables for food drink still on there bikes then stand there and chat giving no reguard to other users !! ) the run back to home was nice little hill that hit me for six but overall great sportief, i relly enjoyed i deffo will be back again and bearing in mind i travelled over 2 hrs .
    only thing i can say some of the roads in bad weather ice etc must be a different animal all together.
    all in all well done catford cc and see you next year big thanks to all
    SWANNY
  • Cheers everyone and thanks for the feedback I will pass it on to the rest of the club.
    I have done 395 miles in my car since Friday morning putting signs up, handing out flags and vests to Marshall's and then round a second time this afternoon taking them down with the Help of Peter a Club Mate :)

    Apologies for any one caught out off route the section from Star Hill to the Spinning wheel persistently had signs removed or turned round :roll: :evil: I saw a few head down Rushmore hill and got them back.

    Also a few late 50km starters were sent back towards the finish along with 100km finishers :oops: where the routes clash, I have a route change in mind to fix that next year so they come from different directions

    Cheers
    Steve
    Catford CC President
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