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  1. #1
    Senior Member The return of Marty Wild's Avatar
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    Wiggle SteepleChase Review

    Having missed out on the UCI Tour of Cambs, Letape and RL this year, when a mate said he was doing this solo I thought it my duty to go with him.

    Charming then that he should no show with no notice at all and I should spend 30mins sitting outside the front of my house at stupid o'clock on the Saturday morning. This also meant I had no one to ride with making the whole affair much more of a grind on the exposed roads of Cambs and Northamptonshire.

    Luckily an old colleague was at the event so was able to look after my car/bike as I went to sign on as pay on the day.

    It soon became apparent that there were not many out there wishing to push themselves, as it took me 20 miles to come across anyone making progress. Turned out to be a father and son duo, the boy was about 12 years old and handing everyone their asses. Impressive but they stuck on the medium course and no sooner had we make an alliance, I turned off on the long route.

    Cue me doing about 20 miles with me being the only person on the road, pretty much. Was headwind out and tailwind home so was super tough. And unlike the events I normally do, I knew there were no trains coming. As the first few drops of rain fell, I did somewhat curse my mate. Luckily though, the rain held off. According to BBC weather, the NW winds were gusting up to 30mph with a 15mph av, was tough to say the least.

    Met another duo putting the effort in, so we made convoy and started taking turns on the front. Became hopeful they might be able to go with me to the end. They said they planned to stop at a feed station whereas I wouldn't normally bother, but having been so isolated, I decided I should not let my would be team go. So I stopped, unfortunately, this was the undoing of one of my new wingmen. Eventually I had to make the decision to leave them despite knowing I would be into the wind by myself but it was apparent that this was going to be quicker, even on a solo attempt.

    So I found myself on another 20 odd mile solo where most of the time I was the only cyclist to be seen and when I did catch up with someone, they were going no where quickly. It is strange but I normally come into my own about 70 miles into a 100. Then I thought I could see something of interest up ahead, I got onto the wheels of a couple of gents from a cycling club based in Ipswich. We exchanged a few words and I was accepted into their team. By now we were really steaming, absolutely smashing it past anyone and everyone. All the time I could see the promise of a 19mph av dangling in front of me. We all put in some really big digs and the last 20 odd miles at very decent pace all taking turns. Didn't quite manage the 19, got 18.9 over the 97 miles with 4,000 ft. So still not bad, I thanked my chums had a chin wag and picked up my medal. Coincidentally, my friend had finished the medium route in the same time as I had done the long. So she was standing at the finish to greet me.

    All in all, had a really good time considering my injury and issue strewn season. I would probably do a Wiggle ride again, there were a couple of arrow signs that left a lot to be desired but other than that it was ok. Yes I do think £40 for non closed roads and a medal is a bit strong, but had I done a century on my normal roads alone, I would have never pushed myself.

    Just exported the results into Excel, I came 4th overall on the chip times. This out of 300 on the Epic and 1000 taking part over all three lengths. Pretty damn chuffed with that, had my friend have come we would have been the quickest out there as he is a lot fitter than I am.

    Get out there and ride people!
    Last edited by The return of Marty Wild; 14th August 2017 at 1:38 PM.
    "Iím glad you asked me twice, you see I am a bilingual, Iím a bilingual illiterateÖ I canít read in two languages."

  2. #2
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    Did your mate have a heavy night? ;-)

    The last normal sportive I did was similar. Paid up, got up early, signed on, queued for the loos. Started, then the riders thinned out quickly. Spent much of the ride on my own, got back to the HQ. I like that Sportives get you riding somewhere new, but I did find myself wondering what the point was.

    Closed road ones make more sense.
    "If you act like you know what you are doing, you can do anything you want- except neurosurgery"- Sharon Stone

  3. #3
    Senior Member The return of Marty Wild's Avatar
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    I love all the strategy calls you have to make, the alliances and the bluffs. So apparent when your by yourself how much your body is hurting, whereas when you team up with people, you spend so much time concentrating on riding safely with each other on the wheels that all the pains goes, also the fact you are going faster and smashing it makes it feel better.

    As for my own strengths and weaknesses, my secret weapon is the 'climbs', I just seem to go up the hills a bit quicker than 9 out of 10 people on the day. So I can either use this to take people down or as I found on this ride. If I am in convoy, when it gets to the hills, if I decide to ride at the pace of the slowest rider, I actually recover on the climbs. Sounds counter intuitive but it is how my body works.

    Took me a few big events to learn my lesson that sometimes slower is actually faster, by this I mean, if you find your self isolated in an event with trains, it is better to sit up and recover and await the next train. Or if there are no trains and you meet a group making good progress, it is quicker overall to wait for them on the hills then go it all alone.

    Love all this jazz, runners must have it so boring on big events.
    "Iím glad you asked me twice, you see I am a bilingual, Iím a bilingual illiterateÖ I canít read in two languages."

  4. #4
    Senior Member Mr Q's Avatar
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    Well done Marty, impressive ride. Make sure you keep that hard earned fitness.

  5. #5
    Senior Member The return of Marty Wild's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PRSboy View Post
    Did your mate have a heavy night? ;-)

    The last normal sportive I did was similar. Paid up, got up early, signed on, queued for the loos. Started, then the riders thinned out quickly. Spent much of the ride on my own, got back to the HQ. I like that Sportives get you riding somewhere new, but I did find myself wondering what the point was.

    Closed road ones make more sense.
    He says he was called into work last minute, why he couldn't txt me, god alone knows.

    As you say, I guess for most people these events are about completing the distance and not about their average speed. There was one group of what looked to be pretty keen cyclists, they were doing 13mph when I got onto them. I made the bridge, arrived onto them, to be disappointed to see my Garmin reading barely above 10mph. Felt like saying something to jolly them on but decided to get off the front and burn more matches.

    You do get to see new roads, that is a definite plus. I think for me, the main selling point is the pushing myself harder than I would away from the event. RL and TOC have way more hardened riders. Much more fun with trains.
    "Iím glad you asked me twice, you see I am a bilingual, Iím a bilingual illiterateÖ I canít read in two languages."

  6. #6
    Senior Member The return of Marty Wild's Avatar
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    Thanks Mr Q, means a lot coming from a man with your credentials.
    "Iím glad you asked me twice, you see I am a bilingual, Iím a bilingual illiterateÖ I canít read in two languages."

  7. #7
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    Ah, I replied to your message before you'd posted the exciting bit at the end!

    Good effort, 4th overall is impressive.

    But, I thought Sportives weren't races

    yeah righty...
    "If you act like you know what you are doing, you can do anything you want- except neurosurgery"- Sharon Stone

  8. #8
    Senior Member The return of Marty Wild's Avatar
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    Sorry PRS, did it in two parts as to save my work as I went along as it were. Bit shocked by 4th overall, but then I only got overtaken once and as stated in my memoir, only met 6 people going at a pace I found agreeable.
    "Iím glad you asked me twice, you see I am a bilingual, Iím a bilingual illiterateÖ I canít read in two languages."

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