Sunday, June 03, 2007

Specialized Challenge Series, Staunton Country Park

After the longest layoff in TCA history Al, Jon and John met up at Staunton Country Park to take part in the local ride in the Specialized Challenge Series. It was a beautiful morning as we checked in for the ride, picking up our instructions, number plate and wrist band. Registration took place between 08:00 and 10:00 and riders were free to start the 45km route at their leisure between 09:00 and 12:00. The advertised route was a single lap but (possibly due to the recent heavy rain) two laps of a shorter route made up the course. We were a little surprised that there were only about 200 riders pre-registered for the event; we set off on our own without another rider in sight at 09:16.

We had decided before-hand to take this, the first major ride of summer, at a steady, sociable pace and try our best to stay together. With the sun beating down and the temperature already into the mid-20s centigrade this proved a wise option as we settled into the saddle and caught up with each other’s activities over the last four weeks.

The route itself was a satisfyingly diverse range of terrain: fire track, woodland paths, graveled road and open meadow. There were also a couple of more technically demanded sections – some tight weaving through trees and over felled logs and some pretty muddy bits too. The only unpleasant sections were short stretches over freshly-mown fields which were very, very bumpy and pretty hard going on the posterior.

The course gently undulated as it looped around the park. However, towards the end of the lap there was a seriously steep hill. On our first lap we stopped after the climb to get our breath back, take on energy drinks and bars (Jon indulging in some seriously dodgy-looking Japanese lychee jelly snacks left over from his trip to Hong Kong in October). At our leisurely pace we crossed the line for the first lap at 1h 20m and completed the full 45km in 2h 43m. We hosed our bikes down and marveled at the speed with which personalized certificate were produced. Less impressive was the goody bag issued to finishers – one might expect more than a can of Red Bull and a water bottle for the rather steep entry fee of £15. Unfortunately we neglected to take a camera and have no images of the event. However, we do have some rather nasty plastic medals to remind us of a very pleasant day out!

(Posted by: Al)

Labels: , , , ,


At 7:07 am, June 05, 2007, Blogger Maalie said...

So what exactly was the "challenge"? Simply to complete the course?

At 10:01 pm, June 05, 2007, Blogger lorenzothellama said...

I was thinking the same as Maalie. The goodie bag seems a bit on the poor side. As least with running races you get a metal medal.

At 8:04 am, June 06, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

You will have to ask Specialized why they decided to call it a 'challenge'... a more realistic title would probably be "The Specialized "we're going to try and flog you a bike and take £15 quid off you for the privilege" Series, but rarely are people so honest these days!

At 10:19 am, June 06, 2007, Blogger Ju's little sister said...

You could have at least been awarded a 'been there done that' tee.

Just as well I checked you out tonight TCA - usually I wait for the complimentary email ;-)

Good job though boys, I'm glad you're back at it.

WOW! Verification has a word today! lawsvx

At 11:25 am, June 06, 2007, Blogger simon said...

i am with Ju's (well not quite!) her being in NZ and all... BUT! where are the photos???

At 11:30 pm, June 08, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

Sounded like a reasonable route? shame about the rip off goodie bag -very poor effort and not a WI cake stall in sight I bet!


Post a Comment

<< Home