Bloody hell! Can anyone tell me why I get up at 4-30am on a Sunday morning, load my bike into the car, pick up my buddy Anthony, load his bike into the car, and drive 130 miles to Stratford-upon-Avon?
Well in this case it was to ride the Wheel Heroes 100 mile sportive. I’ve been pretty picky about sportives this year. I’ve started to actually dislike them. Many are expensive and full of idiots with all-the-gear-but-no-idea and generally they are not a patch on audaxes. Of course this is not always the case. I’ve heard good reports about Policini sportives, which seem to be good value and imaginative, and I continue to support and ride the Kidscan charity rides (which I’ve blogged about here and here). The reason for riding the Wheel Heroes 100 was that it was a charity ride for a great cause – Cyclists Fighting Cancer, which provides cycling equipment to young people who have been affected by cancer.
There was plenty of parking at Stratford racecourse and the registration was quick and well organised. But it didn’t half feel windy! Refreshments were available, at a price, which is fine by me on a charity sportive. Timing chips were attached to ankles and we set off over the mat and off.
Anthony summed up the ride as follows – 25 miles into a headwind, 25 miles up hills, 25 miles with a tailwind and 25 miles back into the headwind. That’s a pretty good summary.
The route itself was relatively flat (in sportive/audax terms) but the wind put a very different complexion on things. The first 25 miles or so were directly into it and in the exposed Cotswolds it was quite tough. The scenery was beautiful – lovely rolling countryside, quaint little villages and chocolate-box cottages. Which we rode through with gritted teeth!
Around the halfway point were some spiky hills with a bit of a kick to them, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Feedstations were at each 25 miles, providing drinks and simple, but welcome food. After the halfway stop we enjoyed a bit of a tailwind until the final feedstation when we turned back into the wind for the final stretch. Which was quite hard. Is it me or has May seemed to be a very, very windy month?
Apart from nearly being taken out by an idiot in a white Audi near the end, the finish was a bit of an anti-climax – a finishers medal and a “goodie” bag but no hot food.
A note on sportive riders. There are some very awful riders out there. Borderline dangerous. Can’t hold a line, can’t keep a constant speed and can’t ride close form.
Overall, a decent event. Good route, good organisation and good feedstops.
Ride stats : 100.74 miles in 6hrs 13m @ 16.2mph average. 3545ft climbing, average HR 134bpm and 4520kcals energy used