MTB distance Chalky chaser

method7 Posts: 13
edited February 2017 in Health, fitness & training
I'm looking at doing a cycling event for the first time ever so don't really know if I should choose the "epic" 32mile or the "standard" 21mile.

To be honest I don't really do distances so this is a new venture for me, I have always enjoyed sprinting the 6 miles to work so I'm a bit concerned about running out of steam or even getting sore since I don't spent a lot of time in the saddle.

32 miles is nothing for most road cyclist, is this the case off road? Is it really epic?


  • method7
    method7 Posts: 13
    That was more or less what I thought oxoman, I will get out and up my mileage :-) the route is mostly XC style drove road with a number of small climbs and winding descents. Maybe someone who has ridden this will add a comment but I don't think it has any surprises.
  • nasha48
    nasha48 Posts: 231
    Hi method. Ok, so I did the Chalky Chaser last year with a mate. Love the Wiggle events, always do the epic, regularly go for 30+ mile XC rides at home. However, this event last year was following a very wet week or so and, in short, we rapidly chose not to bother with it again. Of course there's no control over the weather, and wet boggy rides can be fun. The route takes in a fair amount of rural tracks clearly accessed regularly by farm machinery, meaning HUGE tractor sized ruts in very clayey, chalky (obviously!) ground. Fill these ruts with water (the cold variety at this time of year) and you can find yourself submerged to your thighs, frequently. Hence, imagine shed loads of bikers off their steeds trying to get some grip on their soles as they all tentatively tiptoe around the edges of many of these natural obstacles.

    As you can tell, I didn't enjoy this one! Even if I imagine the route bone dry, it wasn't one of the better events. And if it's even slightly wet, those 32 miles will likely feel pretty tough if all you're used to is a 6 mile road blast. Slow, slippy climbs, check. Few inspiring scenery/views, check. Fun, winding descents, just 1 from memory. South Downs Epic much more fun. All just my opinion of course!
  • Gobs
    Gobs Posts: 296
    Any others you'd recommend?
  • figbat
    figbat Posts: 680
    Nasha beat me to it. Last year I did Uptonogood, the long one (35 miles). It was over terrain I ride regularly and I was as fit as I had ever been. The weather was wet in the run-up and it was a mess. I finished (because I was too stubborn not to) but I didn't enjoy it. As above, lots of time spent pushing through a quagmire, or queuing to push through a quagmire. All mechanical parts got caked in mud, I stopped around half way round to clear the front and rear mechs using water from my camelbak so they would at least work.

    Don't be put off, but go in with eyes wide open.
    Cube Reaction GTC Pro 29 for the lumpy stuff
    Cannondale Synapse alloy with 'guards for the winter roads
    Fuji Altamira 2.7 for the summer roads
    Trek 830 Mountain Track frame turned into a gravel bike - for anywhere & everywhere
  • nasha48
    nasha48 Posts: 231
    ...and expect to take your bike, unrecognisable as caked in thick clay and mud, straight home as they'll be a constant queue for the low pressure hoses on offer at the finish. As I said, wet muddy rides are perfectly fun, but there is a limit. Perhaps I just lucked out on this one and if it's a bit drier the course will be more acceptable.
  • Thanks for the updates gents - I took a look at last years times and most did the epic in between 4 and 5 hours there were several in the 6 hour bracket so it was definitely a struggle for some.

    its definitely a route i would like to have a go at - maybe hit it up regularly.. im just a bit put off by the winter blues and lingering viruses.

    having motivational issues :-)
  • nasha48
    nasha48 Posts: 231
    Don't bother with the same route until at least mid-Spring, too much of it aint fun otherwise.

    You've been warned!
  • Did 26 miles of the Old Shaftsbrry Drove this morning it took about 4 hours with ice and snow on the route. Huge tracks BB deep in the odd one or two. But all the in misable raveens I went through had stony bottoms :-). There were sections of thick mud, clay and land rover exhaust pipes :-).

    It's not hideous up there, but it's a decent challenge. The bike was filthy and I had to drop the pressure in the rear tyre to gain drive. They were high I didn't check them but did pump them to 50psi some time back (to seat the beads). :shock: I don't mind the dirt that's why I have a mountain bike. :mrgreen:
  • Tone C
    Tone C Posts: 30
    This is local to me although I've never done it. As has already been suggested, Salisbury isn't great after any amount of rain really. The soil tends to be slippy as heck and it's difficult to get any traction on. I would also make sure that you take a tyre boot or 2 as some of the farmers fields have large sharp pieces of flint in my experience...