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Puncheur 2012

Anybody else riding the Puncheur this weekend?
It will be my first time for the event and was just interested to see what people make of the route? It promotes itself as a fast 110km loop with a few short sharp 12% stingers, and of course the Beacon which will be a challenge at the end of the ride. Having looked at the route profile it seems to be a tad more challenging, ascending wise, than I imagined, which has disturbed the butterflies in the stomach!
How have people found it before in previous years so early in the season?
2011 Trek Madone 3.1c
2012 Ribble 7005 Winter Trainer

Dolor transit, gloria aeterna est.

Posts

  • I rode this last year - it's a nice route and not super challenging, terrain-wise. There's a couple of steep bits around Ardingly, but neither is particularly long, and the 20-25km run in to Ditchling Beacon is pretty flat, which gives you a good chance to rest before the final push.

    There was a nagging headwind last year, and the weather looks like it'll be similar this year too, so you'll make life easier for yourself if you can find a group to ride with (especially for the final third).
  • Hornet25Hornet25 Posts: 3
    Anybody else riding the Puncheur this weekend?
    It will be my first time for the event and was just interested to see what people make of the route? It promotes itself as a fast 110km loop with a few short sharp 12% stingers, and of course the Beacon which will be a challenge at the end of the ride. Having looked at the route profile it seems to be a tad more challenging, ascending wise, than I imagined, which has disturbed the butterflies in the stomach!
    How have people found it before in previous years so early in the season?

    I am in the same situation as you Kent.

    I reckon I am spending too much time looking at the gradients of the course in bikehike.co.uk . I am sure it will be OK on the day.

    I have never been up the Beacon before but I have been assured that you can spin up it if necessary, so my strategy is to keep a little in reserve and then if all else fails, it is granny gear and keep the sunglasses on! 8)

    Good luck
  • Road RedRoad Red Posts: 232
    There is no need to worry about any of the steep bits before the Beacon.

    It is a nice course, but there are a few longish drags which can take a bit out of you.

    Generally a very good day out though.

    Enjoy, I'll be the big lad with the red face. :oops:
  • EctomorphEctomorph Posts: 69
    It's a very well organised, enjoyable and scenic event, though certainly not the quick blast around that it purports to be (unless I guess you're a seasoned club rider/racer); with a total ascent of over 1700 metres I've found it harder than expected, but certainly not a killer.

    All but the hard men will be spinning up the beacon, it would be unwise not to after 69 miles. And please, be very careful on the descent.

    Weather's looking pants though, let's hope the forecast changes.

    Ecto.
    Only a Pawn in their Game...
  • BoleynboyBoleynboy Posts: 83
    I have been riding up the Beacon for the last 10 years and I can still only spin up it!
    If you have never been up it before do not get caught out by several false finishes, you are not near the end until you clear the tree line and have passed the faint Pantani graffiti on the road, which is still there from when the Tour went over the beacon back in the mid-nineties.
    Also, as someone has already mentioned, be very careful on your way down, many riders not used to the descent have been caught out by its hard to read bends, mixed with broken pieces of chalk on the road, and cars coming round the bends across the white lines( it is quite a narrow road ). If it is wet, take it very easy!
    Not trying to scare anyone, just a bit of local knowledge for you guys, enjoy the ride.
  • I've done the Puncheur every year since it started (in 2009). You've got a fairly flat opening section, then a long drag up towards Ashdown Forest, then it's very up-and-down either side of the feed station and this can be very draining. I'm normally suffering by the time we head up to Balcombe. Once you cross the A272 heading south it flattens out again and allows you to recover a bit before the Beacon at the end. There's no two ways about it: you'll suffer horribly up this last hill with nearly 70 miles in your legs. I've been fighting cramp all the way up every time.

    The good news is that this year they've had to shorten the route a bit because of roadworks near Ardingly. The bad news is it's going to p155 down all day long and the temperatures are heading back to winter.
  • I did it last year. Got Lanterne Rouge. I thought it was very hard. See you tomorrow.....
  • That was absolutely brutal yesterday! The conditions were simply awful, but still enjoyed the route, despite blowing up Ditchling Beacon! I did the first leg in 2hr1min and was hopeful of a silver, but at 85km I threw up (think the cold got to me) and struggled over the line in 5hours 7 SECONDS! Missed out on a bronze by that small a margin! Gutted, but glad I completed it, I think a lot of entrants didn't even bother with it today.
    2011 Trek Madone 3.1c
    2012 Ribble 7005 Winter Trainer

    Dolor transit, gloria aeterna est.
  • Hornet25Hornet25 Posts: 3
    I agree about the conditions. I don't think I have ever ridden in such weather and to be honest I have no great desire to do so again. I started cramping badly from about 32 miles and never recovered. I limped back to the start in 5:30 but the beacon was just a step too far. Chapeau to all you even turned up to ride (just over half according to my calculations), and a double chapeau to all those who finished. As for those who were finishing in around 3:34/3:35, I don't have enough chapeaus to give them! :D

    I hope the weather will be better for 2013.

    Well done everybody.
  • That was horrific yesterday :shock:
    After about 10 miles I was soaked right through. I only had a base layer and one of those luminous yellow tops on - that's normally enough in cold weather unless the temperature's sub-zero, but I didn't factor in just what it feels like when everything you're wearing is completely waterlogged. I couldn't see a thing half the time - I wore my sunglasses (with clear lenses) at first but could scarcely see out of them. Then that descent to the reservoir just before Balcombe convinced me to take them off - I don't know how steep it was, felt like at least 15%, with tights bends, rivers of water flowing down it, and I couldn't see more than five yards in front of me. Plus we'd only just overtaken a couple of horses and an excitable dog about a mile before that. I finished with 4:03 something, but I wasn't chasing a time at all - just desperately trying to keep riding. When I looked at my computer as we approached the Beacon I was convinced I was going to get Gold standard, but stupidly I'd forgotten that I must have stopped for 6 or 7 minutes at the feed station.
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