Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Tour of Wessex Cyclosportive Sunday 30th May 2010

A dry but breezy day, I was ready in good time and was one of the first at Somerton onto the start line at 0820 and so in the first 50 off at 0830. The north westerly wind blew the front group of around a dozen smartly into Dorset and with a great squealing of brakes at an unexpected sharp left down the hill to skirt around Sherborne. The pace was brisk rather than fast and I seemed to hit the front as the road pitched upward past Lyons Hill but then found the back on the descent down to Cerne Abbas. To my surprise after only 30 miles and 1h35m the group stopped for a feed and I was with just one local rider who wanted the next hill out the way. I followed him down Piddle Lane towards Piddletrenthide but then, when he lost his chain as the lane steepened, I found myself alone the ‘tete de la course’ causing awaiting photographers to spring into action as I crested the hill.

There is no point to riding a cyclosportive on your own so I paused for a nature break behind a hedge, but not before the group now down to around 8 clattered past followed by one individual Gillingham rider. I set off with only the one rider in view and we were both passed on the descent by an Agisko Viner rider. Mr Gillingham and I two upped through Piddlehinton catching Mr Agisko as we crossed the A35 at Puddletown. We then 3 upped through Moreton and Lulworth catching glimpses of the lead group whenever the road straightened.

It was brightening but still very breezy as we hit the picturesque Dorset coast at Lulworth, though after the left turn to head inland it was back to our 2 up until we were passed by a breezy ‘hello’ from a rider in Sky kit with legs to match and pulling a score of riders. They passed us on the climb with sea on the right and tanks on the left up to Steeple. It was challenging to hang onto this group especially when they descended but I managed to hang on in there at the back until we got to the breathtaking view of Corfe Castle.

Along the lanes of Purbeck the group stopped for a drink and I thought I would head on. Before long I caught the lead group and settled into their more comfortable pace as we headed to and through Wareham. Mr Sky’s faster group soon caught up and we had a large efficient (new lead) group going on towards Milton Abbas; the closest point the ride passes to my roots so I had family at the pub waving me on.

As with last year, though, the hill out of Milton Abbas up to Bulborrow was where I cracked. I carried on with a couple of other stragglers up the hill and on into an unrelenting headwind. It was a long way back to Somerton and I suffered, unable to grab the wheel of those who passed. Close to the end back in Somerset I was passed by the rump of the group I had first set out with who had not caught on when Mr Sky’s group passed; but I could not even hang onto them.

Got back to record a time of 06:37 for the 119 miles and a Silver standard.

I have enormous respect for those who do all 3 days of this event; clearly I am not yet up to that.

1 comment:

  1. Nice write up :-)

    You didn't miss a thing on the very wet and poor roads of Day1...Day 3 was great weather and great climbs....but I think Day 2 was my favourite :-)

    I loved the descent into Lulworth and the climb back over the range. I am definitely going to head nack out in that direction at the end of the month :-)