Forum home Road cycling forum Tours, routes, audaxes & organised rides Sportives/audaxes/training rides

Tour Of Wessex 2013

I noticed there was no thread about this event, thought I'd get one going.

I'm doing the 3 day event but only the medium route as it's also a family weekend away so balancing both. :roll:
Scott S40 Speedster
Dialled Stay Strong MX20R

I no longer live in an ivory tower, these days it's vintage white :shock:
«1

Posts

  • bigpiklebigpikle Posts: 1,690
    Did the 3 days a couple of years ago, but only day 3 last year. I was going to skip it this year due to a club trip away, but that looks to have gone south sadly, so I was just thinking about all 3 days again this year :D I did sign up for the Somerset GF the previous b/hol weekend which is basically day 3 of ToW in reverse so it might be a little repetitious to do it all again...

    Its always a good event with good routes and stops, backup etc but just seems to get struck by the weather gods every time. I just bet if I dont do it this year then it will turn out to be 3 warm dry days for the first time in living memory!
    Your Past is Not Your Potential...
  • This looks good does anybody no if I will be able to park my camper in the car park and use it, saves costs :D . Also is there anything like this later in the year
    Thanks Neil
  • bigpiklebigpikle Posts: 1,690
    there is camping onsite with a small charge I believe - the car park is the field next to the camping field and I doubt you could just leave it there. Camping may even have been free, I'm not sure?
    Your Past is Not Your Potential...
  • I ended up paying for camping, it was £12 per person per night.
    Scott S40 Speedster
    Dialled Stay Strong MX20R

    I no longer live in an ivory tower, these days it's vintage white :shock:
  • TheStoneTheStone Posts: 2,291
    I've just signed up.
    3 days looks brutal !!!!
    exercise.png
  • topcattimtopcattim Posts: 766
    I'm signed up for all three days and am now wishing I had put more miles in. I've been doing some 10 mile time trials this year and my training has focused on that - lots of shorter sessions done on the road and on the turbo, but not enough long days in the saddle. As has been noted above, I'm hoping for some better weather than in recent years. Last year was the best for a while, but still some rain and wind. I'll be staying in a local campsite, and don't plan having any trouble sleeping at night!

    I'm going to be missing my Team Marmotte partner, who unfortunately crashed in a Cat 4 race and did himself some damage - so I'll have nobody to hide behind on the long stretches, like the windy climb into Minehead.

    Does anyone know if the route has had any major or minor changes compared to last year?
  • TheStoneTheStone Posts: 2,291
    I might have been a bit hasty in signing up! It looks
    (a) very tough
    (b) very competitive.

    Has anyone done this before? Are there plenty of people plodding along at the back for the 3 days?

    Realistically, I'm looking at about 25hrs (if I make it). Bronze starts at 18hrs!!!
    Can't find last year's results.

    The last day is quoted as 185km / 3219m. Starts at 0830, finishes at 1800. On top of the first two days, I might fail to make that!
    exercise.png
  • I've signed up for the full 3 days, and will be taking my time over it!

    Just a quick tip for all those who are camping having just got a message from the organisers - if you're coming down on the Friday, you need to be there by 7pm to sign in for your camping spot

    See you on the start line
  • topcattimtopcattim Posts: 766
    TheStone wrote:
    I might have been a bit hasty in signing up! It looks
    (a) very tough
    (b) very competitive.

    Has anyone done this before? Are there plenty of people plodding along at the back for the 3 days?

    Realistically, I'm looking at about 25hrs (if I make it). Bronze starts at 18hrs!!!
    Can't find last year's results.

    The last day is quoted as 185km / 3219m. Starts at 0830, finishes at 1800. On top of the first two days, I might fail to make that!
    I've managed all three days successfully a couple of times and have done other individual days in previous years (bottled out due to bad weather). Yes its very tough, and the key thing is pacing - having a good day on Day One still means that you need to hold something back to be able to survive days two and three. Steady riding is key - and also not listening too hard to your body at the line up on days two and three when it will be telling you "there's no chance of us making it round" - there is, but your body may not believe you until you are 40 miles or so in to that particular day.
    There is a really good sense of camaraderie and it is relatively easy to find groups - but try to find groups that are doing all three days, and are therefore pacing themselves, or at least join individual day riders who are going slighly slower than you might go on an individual day.
    The scenery is stunning - riding up Cheddar Gorge (day one), riding over the firing ranges on the South Coast (day two), and then the old Porlock toll road (day three - and encouragingly its not as steep as the main Porlock Hill!) - the beautiful scenery really does help take your mind off any pain you are feeling.
    Good luck, enjoy and look out for a solo Marmotte shirt wearer.
  • TheStoneTheStone Posts: 2,291
    Great stuff. This should be excellent. Some nice weather will help.

    I'm fairly good doing multi days (done many tours and trips), just not sure at pace.
    exercise.png
  • topcattimtopcattim Posts: 766
    TheStone wrote:

    Realistically, I'm looking at about 25hrs (if I make it). Bronze starts at 18hrs!!!
    Can't find last year's results.
    !
    Last year I finished all three days with a total time of 20.5 hours. That put me - just - in the top third of all finishers. The previous year I did 21.5 hours, which was just in the top half. Anybody getting gold or silver must be in the top 20%, I would think. An achievement to be very proud of
  • bigpiklebigpikle Posts: 1,690
    in my experience every day is slightly longer than advertised - bonus miles each day :D

    as already said, its all about pacing and finding a good group to ride with!
    Your Past is Not Your Potential...
  • tlrtlr Posts: 147
    I know its a bit of a stupid question, but how hilly is it?

    The daily totals vary hugely depending on whether you look at the website or the map details.

    Day 1 is either 2198m or 1563m
    Day 2 is either 2255m or 1474m
    Day 3 is either 3219m or 2138m

    I'm not too worried about the hills, but I was just wondering whether to use a 27, 25 or 23 cassette. Im guessing that the map data is the more accurate as Day 3 would be similar to the Fred Whitton otherwise, I think my Garmin reckoned 3450m for the Whitton on Sunday.

    Thanks
  • bigpiklebigpikle Posts: 1,690
    Day 1 least hilly - St Alfreds Tower is pretty tough but the only real hard climb I remember
    Day 2 - long drags around the Jurassic coast and military ranges but not steep
    Day 3 - most climbing by far and some steeper stuff around Exmoor

    27 might be useful simply because its 330+ miles and will be hard work
    Your Past is Not Your Potential...
  • AlexMac1973AlexMac1973 Posts: 406
    This is my first multiday, and I'm feeling like I'm not ready. I've been putting in 3 nights a week on the turbo and at least one 5 to 6 hour ride a week, but I've not been able to get a major back to back ride in due to the crappy weather so I've no idea how I'll fair on day three.

    My plan is to take a steady pace on day one and keep something in the tank for day two, just hope it's not the usual bank holiday wash out. :roll:
    Scott S40 Speedster
    Dialled Stay Strong MX20R

    I no longer live in an ivory tower, these days it's vintage white :shock:
  • TheStoneTheStone Posts: 2,291
    tlr wrote:
    The daily totals vary hugely depending on whether you look at the website or the map details.
    Day 1 is either 2198m or 1563m
    Day 2 is either 2255m or 1474m
    Day 3 is either 3219m or 2138m

    I've put Day1 into bikeroutetoaster and got around 1550m, so hopefully they're all on the lower side.
    3200m+ on Day3 would probably push me over the edge!
    exercise.png
  • Taking the KML files and loading them in Google Earth seems to split the difference:

    Stage 1: 1776m / 14.1% max slope
    Stage 2: 1794m / 10.7% max slope
    Stage 3: 2565m / 15.1% max slope

    Look like nice routes, I've done quite a bit of stage 2 bit by bit (it even goes past my front door) - looks like it goes on some busy roads in a couple of places though.
  • jimmurrayjimmurray Posts: 130
    Alfreds Tower on Stage 1 feels quite a bit more than 14%.
  • topcattimtopcattim Posts: 766
    jimmurray wrote:
    Alfreds Tower on Stage 1 feels quite a bit more than 14%.
    Yes I remember struggling up that on recent events. There's a handy table on the ToW site that gives the average and max gradient of the climbs. It lists Alfred's Tower as 2.3 km long at an average 6.5% but max 18%. I'm pretty sure I've been up climbs classified as 25% that don't feel as steep as Alfred's Tower has.
  • AlexMac1973AlexMac1973 Posts: 406
    I've watched a few youtube clips of Alfreds Tower, and it's doesn't do the gradient justice at all. I know it's going to be the toughie, tempted to change the rear gog to something with a bit more spin.

    On the other hand I should just MTFU!! :lol::lol:
    Scott S40 Speedster
    Dialled Stay Strong MX20R

    I no longer live in an ivory tower, these days it's vintage white :shock:
  • bigpiklebigpikle Posts: 1,690
    Alfreds Tower comes up suddenly and hurts for a while, but its not all that bad and certainly there are a lot of much steeper short climbs around than that. If you stand any chance of doing 330 miles in 3 days then it will present no problem at all.

    The worst climbs come on day 3 when you're knackered already and there are some tough ramps on Exmoor when you still have 50+ hard miles to go. The route gets tweaked each year so I dont know exactly what is in day 3 this year but they went up Porlock and Dunkery Beacon which are much tougher especially given the distance by then.

    I did find there were a few too many main road sections and perhaps a little more planning would easily have removed a few, but its still a good event and a good challenge.
    Your Past is Not Your Potential...
  • topcattimtopcattim Posts: 766
    Bigpikle wrote:
    in my experience every day is slightly longer than advertised - bonus miles each day :D
    +1

    I've had cause to curse those "bonus miles" at the end of 7 hours on a bike!
  • IGetAroundIGetAround Posts: 1
    That's a top tip about the camping on Friday night - I was trying to find out when I need to get there.

    I'm also doing the full 3 days; I've been getting in between 120 - 170 miles a week for the last couple of months, but those hills are going to hurt on the final day! I'll be going nice and steady, aiming to scrape in for Silver but no doubt happy to finish - it's been a long time since a did a multi-stage event. I'm camping all 3 nights, so hopefully I'll meet up with some similar riders to share the pain with. :D
  • Barrzy257Barrzy257 Posts: 411
    Looking for a space on the standard route Sunday or Monday? Please pm if you have one available! Much appreciated
  • AlexMac1973AlexMac1973 Posts: 406
    Weather is looking good for the first two days.

    Sat: Warm - Low wind speed- No rain (so far!!)
    Sun: Warm - Moderate wind speeds - Rain forecasted in afternoon (very light)
    Mon: Warm - Windy (It's a bank holiday! Shouldn't expect anything less) - Going to Rain :shock:

    See you all there.
    Scott S40 Speedster
    Dialled Stay Strong MX20R

    I no longer live in an ivory tower, these days it's vintage white :shock:
  • TheStoneTheStone Posts: 2,291
    Looking good for the weekend.
    The ride up from Yeovil station tonight looks very windy!

    Let the pain begin.
    exercise.png
  • topcattimtopcattim Posts: 766
    What, no post Tour of Wessex chat?

    Are we all too tired to post?

    Although I'd planned and trained for all three days, I only did days two and three due to sustaining an injury in the week before the event. :x Had to take it easy up the hills to avoid re-pulling a calf strain.

    But I enjoyed Day Two - it was amazing how much easier it felt than in previous years when it had been my second day on a bike. The ride over the Lulworth Ranges was every bit as good as I remember it, along with a superb descent down into Corfe.

    But Day Three was brutal. All as going well up to and including the Porlock Toll Road, but once on the top of Exmoor, the wind just sapped all the energy and enthusiasm out of me. I spent half an hour at an average of 15k at the top of the moor. Every now and then a group would come past me but I was just too dispirited to put in the effort to climb on the back. Too long spent solo riding. But we pulled together a good group on the way into the 3rd feed stop,and worked really well together until the end - top work, Matt, Gary, Alberto. The last 2 hours were a lot of fun (nearly) and made up for the pain on the top of the moor.

    Well done anyone who survived all three days - will you be back again next year?
  • TheStoneTheStone Posts: 2,291
    I just did the first two days in the end.
    Really enjoyed it. Great scenery, really well organised and a lot more friendly than many other sportives.

    Had a good first day, but the second half of the second day destroyed me. Had very little left to give. Went to sleep thinking I'd do the medium version of the final day, but by the time I got up and worked out the logistics, heading home then made more sense. After struggling to the station, I was certain I'd made the right choice.

    Will definitely do that again. Better prepared next time.
    exercise.png
  • KrysKrys Posts: 51
    Survived all three days! I even enjoyed quite a lot of it. But I think the main word is survived - that stretch of headwind and rain hell across Exmoor yesterday was nearly the final straw... We made it in before the 6pm cut off by about 2 minutes! But I don't care about my time, or my speed. I'm just amazed to have been able to do three days of that kind of riding in a row - it's a pretty awesome achievement. :) Oh, and in case you were wondering...never again! :lol:
  • b4ssyb4ssy Posts: 27
    Did all 3 days.

    Day 1 fantastic, Cheddar Gorge was the highlight of the whole 3 days for me. King Alfred's Tower among the toughest hills I've encountered on a bike. Apart from these 2 major climbs a lot of very pleasant rolling terrain.

    Day 2 we had superb weather and some great views out to the coast and over Lulworth. Although we had 7500 feet of climbing it was spread over 120 miles so wasn't too lumpy. Still felt good after the ride but was apprehensive about day 3.

    Day 3 Brutal is a word often overused in cycling but to me that is the only word I can use to describe the ride. The first hill we encountered of any note was Quantock Hill which launched straight in at about 20%. Climbing Porlock Toll road from sea level to 1500 feet in about 4 miles was time consuming but not particularly tough. Once on top of exmoor the wind was blowing a hooly, the temparature had dropped about 10 degrees and the terrain was full of very sharp hills. This was followed by several other long and steep hills. By the time we had reached the final feed station with 25 miles to go there were a lot of despondent faces. As it turned out the final run back to Somerton was relatively flat with a cross wind that was slightly helping.

    Did I enjoy it? Day 1 yes, Day 2 Yes, Day 3 no. Would I do it again? No way!!!
Sign In or Register to comment.