Well a cold crisp October morning saw #TeamSprocket assemble for probably the best value sportive on the planet! But I will come on to that later...
This morning was somewhat unusual for us all in a way as most of the Tri season is spent head down going as fast as we can and not admiring the scenery. Today was a social for us all and a day out enjoying each others company and a good route planned ably by The Wirral Wheelers CTC affiliated cycle group.
The team was full of anticipation as we arrived at 8 am nice and early to get ready and meet for a chat. For a couple of our team this would be the longest ride they had undertaken and today would not be without it’s challenges. The route for the day was a 66 mile ramble through the rolling Cheshire countryside.
Perfect clear skies and no wind had me eager to get going. The team welcomed our latest member Steve on his first outing with Docotor Sprocket’s Tri. Steve is a seasoned rider and this year amongst many other rides he has completed the London to Paris ride successfully.
Anyway enough about the team and back to the ride…. The start was at Waverton Village Hall, Common Lane, Waverton, Cheshire where we were greeted by Graham Lewis and the team with a warm welcome and a fresh coffee and pastries … in my view no better way to start the day!
After last minute preparations and some admiring of other bikes from the 250 plus riders gathered for the event, it was time to set off. The instructions where well put together, perfectly clear and the route was well sign posted.
The signposting I believe is an addition that had been put in to place on this ride. I have to say it was clear and highly visible which made riding so much more enjoyable. I had also downloaded the .gpx route on my Garmin which is always provided for the ride. All in all double simple !
The route I have to say was spectacular in the rolling Cheshire countryside with a great mix of quiet country roads and a few hills to get the lungs working. The 66 miles is split up by a lunch stop about half way with a nice brew, beans on toast and a cake! All very civilised and capably presented by The Wirral Wheelers team who did an amazing job feeding 250 plus hungry mouths in about an hour!
Although the distance may be challenging for some, the ride is perfect for all abilities. There were many first time riders I spoke to at the end who had enjoyed the day immensely and had vowed to come back for the sister ‘ early season ride’ in April 2017. I am assurred that is just as good with another different route each time!
This is truly a bargain in the world of sportives as most will cost you between £20-£75 per event and this coming in at £12.50 simply beggars belief! The low entry fee certainly does not reflect in the way how this event is run.
My advice…. increase your prices as you are way too cheap.. This is not a statement I say lightly but I would be happy to pay a little bit more? Why? Well I know that the Wirral Wheelers donate their profits to cycling related charities and have recently donated a semi-recumbent adapted three wheeler to the Eastham Community Cycle Hub. This will give access to more members of the community to cycling which is a great achievement
If I had to offer any constructive feedback to Graham on the whole day it would be add some caution signs for the bad roads or bends. Although the general signage was great there were a few bits that caught some people out.
We came across a rider (who we understand is ok now) but he had taken a nasty fall on a decent on a poor road topped off with some fresh farm manure which made a treacherous surface. Some of this cannot be foreseen but maybe a couple of warning signs would have helped calm the downhill speed demons.
I would highly recommend this event for anyone who wants a great day out. As far as sportives go the course was exceptional. The 66mile route is gentle with only a couple of small climbs. I am sure this will become a Team Sprocket annual event as a end of season work down and to kick start winter training. A great big 'Thank you’ to The Wirral Wheelers for organising a fantastic event….. a true gem in the cycling calendar.....
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