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Hell of the Ashdown turnout

I rode the Hell of the Ashdown today and it was probably the coldest I have ever been on a bike!
Never went much above freezing for the five hours I was on the road, light snow and a biting wind made this the toughest one yet in the four years I have entered the event.
What surprised me was the amount of no shows, if my counting is accurate only 820ish riders finished the route. 1500 riders had entered, that is a huge amount of entrants who have gone to the effort of getting their entry in (before it sold out in 24 hours),paying their money and then deciding not to bother.
Some riders obviously started but DNF, but judging by the amount of unclaimed starter packs at 9.30 when I signed on many just gave it a miss.
This event is at the end of February, surely people realise it has a good chance of not enjoying the best of weather, which along with the climbing has always been part of the Hell's sadistic appeal.
Although looking back on it, perhaps the DNS's had the best idea staying in bed, it was pretty brutal today.

Posts

  • Approx 900 starters yesterday.
    We had about 100 cancelled by January and turned most of those over to reserve list, plus approx 70 transferred their space to a friend.
    We probably had another 80 cancelled in the last week and hundred transfer requests but by then the start list was printed and it was too late to change, so that is a massive DNS list.

    Congratulations to everyone that rode and great thank you to all our volunteer helpers braving the cold that make it such a success :D
  • Whatever the turnout it was a fantastically well organised event in the most freezing of conditions.If you sign up for a sportive in February in this country you pretty much know what weather you are likely to encounter. A big thanks to all the Marshals who braved sub zero temperatures to make sure we all stayed on course.
  • il_principeil_principe Posts: 9,151
    Great day on the bike. My first HOTA and I was very impressed with the organisation. Rode there and back from Wandsworth so managed 100 miles for the day. Castelli tights, Rapha winter jersey & softshell along with 2 base layers meant I was nice and warm. Did get v cold waiting at HQ though!
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  • You can't stop people from signing up to an event in the hope of a nice sunny day and then decide not to take any risk if it turns out to be cold and grey instead...
    People get married and divorce in a similar proportion, so there are far more serious committments that rest unfulfilled...

    Get over it, who cares... 8)
  • I was one of those who bottled it. I admire all those that completed the course including my riding buddy who clocked 4h21m. I'm not adverse to riding when its a little chilly, but cycling in what felt like sub zero temperatures is not something that appeals to me. I did try to a run later in the day but turned back after 45 minutes as it was just too cold. Some relish the challenge of riding in such conditions, but I do not. While I wasn't expecting to be riding in summer shorts and top, it was something of a surprise cold snap for this time of year and this was enough to put me off. I'm not paid to ride so why would I want too in conditions that I don't like? I admit it was a lame effort, but that's my prerogative. For all those that completed the challenge, I doth my cap
  • I rode yesterday. Great organisation. I've never seen so many marshalls on a sportive and considering how cold it was I think they deserve massive thanks. The second feed stop was great, Coffee and cake whilst I waited for my mate - I really did'nt want to leave.
  • crispybug2crispybug2 Posts: 2,915
    I was one of the DNF. In fact truth be told I don't thi.k I even completed a mile! At the bottom of the first descent my front tyre and tube just shredded and I only just brought my bike to controlled stop, scared the living shite out of me I can tell you! Anyway I liked to say a big thank you to the couple, sorry didn't get your names, who drove me to the start, that was much appreciated.
  • phreakphreak Posts: 2,568
    I went out riding yesterday and whilst it was cold, it only really started to bite once my hands and feet got a bit damp later in the day. First couple of hours were actually pretty nice.
  • asjcasjc Posts: 103
    Yes a huge thanks to the organisers and marshalls, they must have been really cold but always managed to smile, unlike myself who mainly grimaced after mile 40, at which point started to go backwards, my 2 powerbars were frozen like brittle rockand try as i might i couldnt eat them, shame as i had been on for a good time till then, I crawled in in single figure mph in 4.11 and headed straight for the food and a shower. THOA doesnt usually do that to me and i ruled that i would never do it again, but thinking about it today.............. :)
    Well done Catford C.C. Ta adam
  • Brutally cold. 3 Merino baselayers, 3 pairs of socks, 6 layers in total with gilet. That cold. This is a well organised, friendly and challenging event but a few things still grate. Why the need for start times and why for a £30 entry fee is there no cup of tea and slice of cake thrown in at the finish? I'd prefer complimentary grub and certainly a cup of tea at the end - not a feed station only 14 miles away on Ide Hill. Post 10am start times are also totally inconvenient for those of us with young children who live over an hour away. They don't seemed to be enforced either. For the 2nd year running, I turned up and left much earlier without any challenge - or any problem. Really pointless having people hang around for start slots in weather that cold. Why too does such a popular, expensive and sold out early season event have no ID check at sign-in? Yesterday I was given someone else's number by mistake despite handing in a confirmation email. Really slack I thought. Rant over. It was Hell. And man, it was cold!
  • Frattonise wrote:
    Brutally cold. 3 Merino baselayers, 3 pairs of socks, 6 layers in total with gilet. That cold. This is a well organised, friendly and challenging event but a few things still grate. Why the need for start times and why for a £30 entry fee is there no cup of tea and slice of cake thrown in at the finish? I'd prefer complimentary grub and certainly a cup of tea at the end - not a feed station only 14 miles away on Ide Hill. Post 10am start times are also totally inconvenient for those of us with young children who live over an hour away. They don't seemed to be enforced either. For the 2nd year running, I turned up and left much earlier without any challenge - or any problem. Really pointless having people hang around for start slots in weather that cold. Why too does such a popular, expensive and sold out early season event have no ID check at sign-in? Yesterday I was given someone else's number by mistake despite handing in a confirmation email. Really slack I thought. Rant over. It was Hell. And man, it was cold!

    wow :roll: I think there must have been 2 Hell of the Ashdowns yesterday because this rant certainly isn't justified for the one I took part in. I turned up at registration to be welcomed by a really friendly guy who asked for my number and gave me an envelope with that number on it. If the envelope had a different number on it to my confirmation email I think I might have worked out to double check things with one of the many friendly helpers in the hall.
  • cyclingpropcyclingprop Posts: 2,426
    Brakeless wrote:
    wow :roll: I think there must have been 2 Hell of the Ashdowns yesterday because this rant certainly isn't justified for the one I took part in. I turned up at registration to be welcomed by a really friendly guy who asked for my number and gave me an envelope with that number on it. If the envelope had a different number on it to my confirmation email I think I might have worked out to double check things with one of the many friendly helpers in the hall.

    My thoughts too. Must remember the event is organised for the group, not your individual circumstances!

    Anyway, great, friendly organisation - really well marshalled, and it felt less cold than claimed (that could be to do with running hot, one base layer, one winter jersey, pbk tights and a softshell did it for me)....

    There and back made it 93 for the day.... almost wish I'd made it the tonne now!
    What do you mean you think 64cm is a big frame?
  • Frattonise wrote:
    Brutally cold. 3 Merino baselayers, 3 pairs of socks, 6 layers in total with gilet. That cold. This is a well organised, friendly and challenging event but a few things still grate. Why the need for start times and why for a £30 entry fee is there no cup of tea and slice of cake thrown in at the finish? I'd prefer complimentary grub and certainly a cup of tea at the end - not a feed station only 14 miles away on Ide Hill. Post 10am start times are also totally inconvenient for those of us with young children who live over an hour away. They don't seemed to be enforced either. For the 2nd year running, I turned up and left much earlier without any challenge - or any problem. Really pointless having people hang around for start slots in weather that cold. Why too does such a popular, expensive and sold out early season event have no ID check at sign-in? Yesterday I was given someone else's number by mistake despite handing in a confirmation email. Really slack I thought. Rant over. It was Hell. And man, it was cold!

    Sorry to hear you were disappointed we need feedback to move forward I am always open to suggestions.

    Start Times; With 1500 entries we cannot send everyone off on narrow lanes at the same time, Police and KCA Council risk assessments state we have to meter the groups with gaps.
    This year with 600 non starters mean't there was plenty of free spaces within each slot that allowed us to be less draconian about start times.

    £30 entry fee; We are becoming a victim of our own success, the HQ School for one had hiked it's fee for use through the roof, extra vans hired for transporting food to controls. Half the profit made is always donated to a Charity as well.

    Handed wrong number at start; I apologise for that some of our volunteers were getting a bit flustered at the start, did you notice before setting off/ are you on the finish list correctly? If not email me via the HOTA website and I'll get our web guru to correct it.

    Free Tea/ cake at finish; There was free food and drink at both Check/feed points at 26 miles Ashdown Forest and Ide Hill 50 miles, I'll bring up free drink at the Finish at the next Committee meeting.

    Cold; Sorry out of my hands :lol: But many of us Volunteers froze too, two days putting signs up and a day taking them back down.

    Cheers
    Steve
  • You can't stop people from signing up to an event in the hope of a nice sunny day and then decide not to take any risk if it turns out to be cold and grey instead...
    People get married and divorce in a similar proportion, so there are far more serious committments that rest unfulfilled...

    Get over it, who cares... 8)

    Where in my original post did i say anything about stopping people from signing up to an event and then not turning up because of the weather, and how often do we get a "nice sunny day" in February?
    I was just surprised at how many people are willing to go to the effort of signing up and spending £30 and then not turning up because it was a cold day.
    Your last comment of "get over it, who cares" prompts me to ask, get over what exactly, and you obviously cared enough to reply to the post!
    What the hell marriage and divorce has to do with any of it is beyond me!
    As to the event, well done on yet another well organised ride, defiantly the toughest one for me in the past four years.
    As for the person who knocked my bike over in the bike park at the finish, snapping my race blade in two whilst I was picking up my certificate, try to be a bit more careful in the future!
  • Boleynboy wrote:
    You can't stop people from signing up to an event in the hope of a nice sunny day and then decide not to take any risk if it turns out to be cold and grey instead...
    People get married and divorce in a similar proportion, so there are far more serious committments that rest unfulfilled...

    Get over it, who cares... 8)

    Where in my original post did i say anything about stopping people from signing up to an event and then not turning up because of the weather, and how often do we get a "nice sunny day" in February?
    I was just surprised at how many people are willing to go to the effort of signing up and spending £30 and then not turning up because it was a cold day.
    Your last comment of "get over it, who cares" prompts me to ask, get over what exactly, and you obviously cared enough to reply to the post!
    What the hell marriage and divorce has to do with any of it is beyond me!
    As to the event, well done on yet another well organised ride, defiantly the toughest one for me in the past four years.
    As for the person who knocked my bike over in the bike park at the finish, snapping my race blade in two whilst I was picking up my certificate, try to be a bit more careful in the future!

    Most cyclists have enough money to throw away 30 pounds without second thoughts... The spread of completely pointless carbon components costing 3 to 4 figures proves it quite well, I reckon... :wink:
    For the record, on a sunny summer day, you have to expect 80 per cent turnout, maybe a bit more on very popular events like FWC and Dragon Ride... So the 60 plus for the Hell of Ashdown is not bad
  • anteroantero Posts: 1
    Brilliant ride, very well organised. I found the weather OK once I got going. Cold fingers at first but a decent climb early on soon sorted that out, though I am glad the hail didn't last very long. In those temperatures the Marshalls were heroic. Special thanks to those on Cudham Test Hill keeping us away from a nasty patch of ice.
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