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Fell of the Ashdown 2014.

Chastise1943Chastise1943 Posts: 40
Why was the Hell of the Ashdown allowed to start at 8am this morning? The conditions were lethal at that time. It was dangerous to walk a bike never mind try and ride one over some of the early miles. Packed it in after 30 minutes riding/pushing and then crashed at Knockoult trying to get back to the start on another treacherous shaded lane. It's not good enough to have a few old duffers waving red flags and saying 'Watch out it's slippery' or that 'it will be fine in an hour.' Why was there no alternative ice free route. Why wasn't the event held back till conditions were safe. Nothing was said when I left at 8am. No briefing at all. Shambolic. Never again.


  • I did the ride today and the first hour and a bit wasn't fun, but, where would any ice free roads have been in that area at that time ? Also, and more importantly, given that the car parks were icy, each rider has to take responsibility for riding or not - it's not fair to blame the organisers, (though you are right about no briefing which was disappointing but is the first time in the last 5 years there hasn't been one). If they had had delayed the start, i'm sure many riders would have complained and wanted to take their chances. The organisers would never have been able to win.
  • dandrewdandrew Posts: 175
    I was really looking forward to it but fell after a few miles. I got back on again but witnessed a big pile up further down the road and decided that it wasn't going to get better any time soon.I made my way back to the start with a local rider. I doubt I'll do this one again as the weather is always an issue at this time of year. I don't blame the organisers though, they at least tried to point out the initial icy stretches. I will however come back later in the year and ride the route in better conditions.
  • pipipipipipi Posts: 332
    Even if it hadn't been 'allowed' to start, I'm sure some riders would have thought that they'd come for a ride, so they would go for one anyway.

    I don't think it's the organisers fault. More the pressure of having to run an event at such a risky weather time of year.

    I rode the Gravesend RideIt today and whilst it was generally great, there were at four times when the road/Lane was flooded from side to side. Some rather scary steep descents with lots of potholes, mud and debris, and gravel.

    I think I will be more cautious of when I enter rides next year...
  • GazzaputtGazzaputt Posts: 3,227
    Bizarrely whilst on a club ride yesterday we were saying how none of us would ride the HOTA again. Firstly £30?? Secondly regardless of rider safety they run this event.

    We rode to the east of Westerham and at 10am there was no ice thank god. Read a few reports of abandonment.

    Wouls it have hurt to have postponed the start until a little later? Using some of that £30 fee they could have offered tea and coffee until it was safe to ride the designated route.
  • pipipipipipi Posts: 332
    Whilst it would be safer to wait for it to warm up, waiting would also mean more traffic on the road, and some people may not have the schedule that allows a delay.

    A pressure to run an event as promised, and a pressure to adapt as necessary. Whatever the decision, someone would not be happy.
  • phreakphreak Posts: 2,890
    Sportives sure do turn adults funny. What would you do if it wasn't an actual event? Would you still head out?

    I was out around those roads on Sunday and it was damp, so not surprising there was a bit of ice. To be honest, whilst the route is ok, the dodgy conditions are kind of the USP of the Hell aren't they?

    'Tis funny how people are though. With the roads a bit grotty I picked up a puncture. Annoying, but no problem, pull over and fix her up. If it was a regular Sunday I'd estimate that 90% of cyclists passing you would ask if you're ok/need any assistance. I reckon a good 50 or so sportive entrants must have passed by, and not only did not one offer any help, most made a concerted effort not to even make eye contact :lol:

    Funny how being in an event changes how folks behave.
  • pipipipipipi Posts: 332
    Well I definitely saw and asked 3 people if they were okay.

    But I could easily have missed you at some points on the road because I was concentrating so much on finding a smoothish path through the debris.
  • pipipipipipi Posts: 332
    And possibly being a sportive there are more novice riders who may not know to check fellow riders. Or even have the correct equipment to help anyway.

    Just after my start at the Cyclopark in Gravesend someone was walking back with an entire wheel, and a minute later I went past her upturned bike and a friend looking after it. I was so confused by the situation I didn't say anything!
  • A dejavu of a few years back? :wink:

    At the time I had entered the event but did not show up as it turned out to be a very icy day and was very vocal about the organisers decision to go ahead. This sunday was nowehere near as bad, but probably still hairy in the first hours of the morning.
    The thing is, if you organise an event in February (it was January back then) you can't cancel it because there is a bit of frost, or you'll have to cancel it every other year. Personally I think it's pointless to enter an expensive event held in February on country lanes, but I had to learn that by experience.
    left the forum March 2023
  • dandrewdandrew Posts: 175
    No sign of the results page yet! Perhaps there are to many DNF's to publish it?
    Before I crashed out I wondered what the steady stream of people walking their bikes back to the start was all about.
    There were plenty of Marshalls in the first few miles waving flags at junctions. I just wish the one who told me to slow down had said that the reason that there was ice on the road! I braked, slowed down as requested. It was then that my bike propelled me forward and started to bounce in my wake. Fortunately only a bit of handle bar trim damage and hip road rash. One of my mates however had his Di2 mangled.
    I'll be back in a month or so to ride the course. The HOTA/ Catford CC should perhaps also consider running this or a similar route later in the year. I am sure there would be takers.
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