You are hereTour of Wessex May 28 -30th 2016

Tour of Wessex May 28 -30th 2016


By brian_perry - Posted on 06 June 2016

This year another strong team from Reading CC comprising Jed Ellerby, Tim Macfarlane, Chris Goslar and Alistair Howells headed to the West Country for this premier multi-day event.

Jed reports:
"Tour of Wessex - May 28-30th
Last weekend myself, Tim, Chris and Alistair headed over to Somerset for the three days Tour of Wessex. Three consecutive days of 100+ miles and 6K-10K feet climbing per day, so a tough weekends riding.
Day 1 loops north to take in the 25 minute Cheddar Gorge climb and the steep King Alfreds Tower plus plenty of rolling hills. The key is getting into a decent well matched peleton and for me, Chris and Tim it couldn't have gone better. An average of 20.4mph for the 10 miles with the same peleton start to finish, a really good ride for us all. It put us all pretty much in top 20 positions for the day so we were all more than happy with that !
Day 2 is always tough as the legs are feeling it now, and the hills are steeper plus there's an extra 1500 feet of climbing! The route is stunning heading south to Corfe Castle and as the weather was great, it was a nice days cycling. Performance wise it was a major challenge for me as I missed the peleton at the start, it formed up super quick and hit full tilt within a few hundred yards leaving me sprinting to get even close ... my legs weren't warm enough for that challenge so early in the ride so I backed off. I spent the next 2 hours solo cursing my mistake knowing the guys were way ahead of me, I compounded my mistake more by missing a turn and having to navigate back to the route. I lost some 10 minutes and found myself no longer solo and having slipped back into the slower starters .. I was going backwards ! On the plus side I now found a peleton to team up with and soon found a suitable match so the next 50 miles I could at least get up to a decent pace. Meanwhile Tim and Chris were racing away but little did I know Tim was racing to disaster and nasty crash leaving him with a broken collar bone ... oh no, another bad season for Tim (he's since had it pinned and is really hoping for a quick sub 4 week recovery .. cross fingers for him!). Chris had a great ride and stayed with the peleton to finish in the top twenty again with 20mph+ average, whilst I rolled in down the order with an average of 19.5mph for the 120 miles ... a frustrating day!
Day 3 is a monster, myself and Chris headed out with the peleton at speed for the first 20 miles and then opted to peal off to save our energy for the 10k feet of climbing. The opening 20 miles at 24-25mph was really not going to carry on for us! The route is absolutely stunning taking in the Quantocks and then a superb Alpine style climb up Porlock was really memorable. The run over the top of Exmoor was perfect with a light breeze and a chance for a cheeky downhill KOM, I started to feel good over the tops after a struggling start ... those early mornings really don't agree with me! Chris operated in reverse and started to slow, but it mattered little as the race took a dive for us both as I punctured just as we hit the last speedy 40k and we waved goodbye to a peleton we'd formed up for the run home. After an awful repair, we'd lost lots of time and motivation to push hard so we settled for a good ride back but without making it hurt ... 110 miles, 10k feet climbing at 17.6mph ... so respectable but not speedy. The overall placings were gone now so it was a question of enjoying the ride and stunning scenery, and great weather.
Overall we had three great days of riding but the event itself was a little disappointing. It lacked the great post ride atmosphere of the previous year due to a change in event centre and the camping left a fair bit to be desired on the toilets front ... down to one loo at one point for the whole campsite !
As rides go, this is a great multi day challenge and perfect training for something like the Haute Route which is another notch up the scale. If you've not tried it then take a look, but don't bother camping unless they sort the toilets!"