The Tour of Cambridgeshire Gran Fondo – 2015

Excitement mounts – the first closed road event of the year, The Tour Of Cambridgeshire.¬†This is the first UCI sanctioned event in the UK, a continental Gran Fondo race over 135km. I have made the decision not to do so many cycling Sportives this year. The events are becoming so popular and on certain Sundays you can get two or more events using the same routes and this causes all sorts of chaos. The price of these rides has gone through the roof as well so I now pick my events carefully, choosing the “closed roads” events.

The Gran Fondo was a race, you get a timing chip, but your time starts from when the gun goes off, NOT from the time you cross the line. The top 25% in each age group get the option to qualify for the UCI world event later this year. I have no illusions of grandeur and my plan for the day was simply to have an enjoyable closed road ride. I was accompanied by my brother and friend from university, who was riding his first big event and would be the longest distance he had done on two wheels.

The course is pan flat with only a few inclines but the weather was fantastic with only a slight wind. The ride would be a very different affair if there had been a strong wind. My friend got the hang of drafting behind a group and we had a fantastic ride out.

An excellent event, and the video below tells the story.

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Isle of Wight Randonee 2015

Time for the first real ride of the year and one of my favourites, 100km of the Isle of Wight Randonnee. The day started a bit damp, with some horrendous rain in the early hours. I delayed by start till 9:30am and by this time the rain had stopped and it looked like it was going to be a cracking day. I checked in at Yarmouth and grabbed my stamp card and set off on the first leg to Cowes. This is the nice scenic part of the route, lots of leafy little lanes which meander along the north of the island. The quality of the roads on the island are fantastic, due to the lack of traffic and the mild weather, there are almost no potholes and road furniture on the island. On reaching West Cowes I jumped on the chain link ferry across the Medina river. Out of East Cowes the route starts to become more rolling. On the first climb out of the town I bumped in to this guy.

Its All For A Good Cause

Its All For A Good Cause

Now, I like to draft a wheel where I can, but I gave this one a very wide birth. All for a good cause – I did drop a couple of quid in his money slot (on his back) – but I do suggest he gets a rear mudguard for the next ride.

The bottom half of the island is where it gets a bit lumpy, and the climbs start to build up. The thing about the isle of Wight is that you are always going up or down. There never seems to be a flat section. The last two big climbs are out of Niton (Niton Down) and then onto the last double summit climb before Freshwater bay. The legs were not season ready, so I was hurting a bit up the final climb but gritted on through and got onto the final downhill to the finish.

Another great ride completed thanks to the Cycle Tourers of the Isle of Wight.

Riding through the cornfields……

Am off the bike for a few weeks, due to work commitments in the USA. (or so I thought). The problem with coming to the USA is I can’t resist all the bad stuff, burgers and fries are my weakness. I pile on a load of weight and it never goes. Luck has it I have sourced a loaner bike which means I can get a few miles in rather than spending the time eating.

With some local knowledge in hand, head down to the farmland areas south of Indianapolis. Now there is not a lot down here, plenty of cornfields and a few homesteads not a lot more. Dialed up a route on the GPS and off we go.

This is very different terrain to Surrey, long straight sections of road all on a grid pattern. You are basically riding North, South, East or West with a field on either side. Lucky the wind was very low otherwise you could be banging your head against an onslaught in this wide open country..

Sunset Ride

Sunset Ride

The Open Road

The Open Road

It was a great ride, timed to perfection as the sun went down just as it came to an end.

Highlights were……

  • The cornfields
  • The crazy dogs that charge out of the farms and force you to speed up or lose an ankle. (great motivation)
  • The lack of traffic (only saw ¬†1 tractor) – it was the size of a house of course and you could cycle between the wheels.
  • Riding into the sunset.

Tour de Forest / Grassina

Well things are coming on…
Did a couple of nice long rides down in the New Forest which is one of the best places to explore on a bike. The 1st ride I did down there was 64km which would not have been too bad apart from the Wind was running at gusts of 70mph. This was not too bad in one direction, but the last 20km was a gruelling slog, hunched over the bike in 1st gear on the flat. Thank goodness the roads were quiet as the bike was all over the place. Not the longest ride this year, but definitely the most taxing.

I repeated the ride with some extra distance a few days later. 86km

Even better my Italian Cycling chum sent me some new kit from his Florentine cycling club. So as soon as the weather was warm enough, that got an airing. (very Team Tinkoff)

Tour de Grassina

Tour de Grassina

Tour de Forest (part 1)

Tour de Forest (part 1)

Tour de forest part 2

Tour de Forest (part 2)