Le retour et la sortie de récupération – Severn Bridge Sportive

The return home from Portsmouth on Saturday was interesting, the homeward Headwind theme continued … and got stronger, the cycling Gods were ½ smiling, it was the sunniest it had been all week. Going over Salisbury plain was particularly bad dragging my speed down at points below 10mph!


On the way back I came across several groups of riders in front, but each time I made an extra effort to catch them with the aim of overtaking them with panniers on, they turned off my route just as I got near… extremely frustrating. I did catch two guys on a hill and took extreme satisfaction in saying hello, staying behind them for a while. They didn’t like having someone behind and tried to drop me even though I had introduced myself, indignantly at the next large hill I flew past them, slowed for them to almost catch me then powered off again, what fun…

I had hoped to get back into Devizes by 13:00 and eventually arrived just before closing time at the Devizes and District Gentlemen’s Club at 13:30. The treasurer Les got me a drink in despite the bar supposed to be closed and the first pint of Wadworth IPA in over a week went down extremely well and hardly touched the sides! As the club was closing, I had to nip to the Conservative Club for a second one after popping into Bikes and Boards to see Brian and ask if he knew what was wrong with my mechanical disc brakes. As I had mentioned earlier in a post, coming down a hill the back brake packed up. It was as if there was mechanism that stopped you putting them on too hard, the brake clicked and despite the lever being pulled, the pads sprang back. Anyone heard of this happening before as Bikes and Boards haven’t, they are getting onto the manufacturer and I am hoping they can be fixed on Saturday as I also use the bike as my commuter.

After getting home, cleaning the bike doing the washing etc., it was time to get the Raleigh back off the wall rack ready for Sundays ride. Last year, coincidentally the day after my return from Paris it was the Severn Bridge Sportive, this year even though my ride was in June, not August I was set to return again the day before the moved Severn Bridge Sportive. Last year I rode with my friend Andy and we did the short route. I wasn’t sure this year if I’d be up to doing 100 miles at Sportive pace. However after having a wash, change, big Chinese and an early night, I woke early and felt fine. I rode over to Castle Combe for the start, paid my entry fee (unfortunately slightly more than if I had pre-booked and used my Discount code from an earlier Sportive).

The Sportive is organised by Andy Cook Cycling, Andy is the chairman of the Chippenham Wheelers and he and his wife Jacqui certainly know how to run some fantastic events, they had also organised for the same day the Help for Heroes Dawn Raid Sportive which was reported on the News.

When I arrived there were plenty of Chippenham wheelers there ready for the off with several doing each route. As I still wasn’t sure whether to do the 100km or the 100 mile I set off again with Andy initially to ride steady and decided to make up my mind once I reached the feed station at Chepstow. After our steady start (first 600 yards), we couldn’t resist flying J We had a storming start averaging 20.4mph to the first feed stop where we were amongst the first to arrive. I even got a little cheer from the young lady on the water bottle top ups for being the first wheeler (or at least one in a Wheelers top) to arrive J

After topping up a water bottle, devouring several Jaffa cakes and some bread and jam I decided I would do the longer route and waited for some of the other club members to arrive. Most of the other wheelers doing the longer route had decided to leave later than Andy and I and so I waited, and waited and finally in they rolled, David being on a mission was in and out in no time and before I knew it I was scrabbling to get my helmet back on and catch them going out of the feed station. After a few miles I ended up on the front with Seb and I think we upped the pace without realising when we hit the first big hill and found ourselves on our own. About 5-6 miles later David caught our little breakaway, obviously we must have slowed down more than we had thought for this to happen…. 😉

With the three of us together we started to work a little better as a small team and the pace increased again. I’m sure David looked leaner than ever, when he was behind Seb I couldn’t see him (no Sebs not that big) and he’s definitely fitter and faster. Mind you he was popping Gels like they were going out of fashion. I don’t think I have seen anyone bother following the three to four an hour suggestion before.

The route in Wales appeared hiller than the ride link suggests either that or I was tired after riding to France and Back, but I think I wasn’t the only one to feel like this. We arrived back at the feed stop for a very quick refill then headed back on the final stretch. The last 20 miles of the course seemed like hard work and Seb and David did a lot of the work both managing to keep the pace nice and high. We came flying in at the end and cheekily after having had a cushy ride for the last few miles I shot off to cross the finish line first, but not as fast as I should have, disappointingly for my two unwitting lead out men! Sorry guys.

Seb, Myself & David


The sportive is also part of the Castle Combe Cycling Festival, after finishing the ride several of us sat down, enjoyed the weather, the pasta and some of us even had a sports massage. I’d never had a sports massage before, but decided to stick my name down for one. It was an experience. I was asked by the attractive female masseuse where I needed to be worked on…..ahem, the legs please everything else was ok. Christ almighty (sorry) she started on my left leg, it was painful. Apparently that’s because they were tight. After a while the pain dissipated and she started on the right leg which is my stronger leg, the pain wasn’t anywhere near as bad as the left. Next onto the ham strings which wasn’t too bad either. After the massage I got up off the table and couldn’t believe how good my legs felt. Yes it did hurt a little to start with, but that soon turned to mild discomfort and then no pain at all. The results were impressive, way more than I would have thought. I highly recommend one. The massage was free but donations were being collected for a Toddler group in Yatton Kennel, that was the best fiver I have spent in a long time. I should have gotten the name as they certainly deserve some recognition..

Two Ride Links today, the return from Portsmouth AND the Severn Bridge Challenge Don’t forget if you click on the link it will show you more info including a map of each ride.

Route: Portsmouth to Devizes
Ride Link: http://cyclemeter.com/9fb89c614db84b86/Cycle-20130601-0931?r=x
Started: 1 Jun 2013 09:31:48
Ride Time: 4:44:29
Stopped Time: 51:46
Distance: 68.54 miles
Average Speed: 14.45 mph
Fastest Speed: 33.73 mph
Ascent: 3087 feet
Descent: 2769 feet
Calories: 2954
Average Heart Rate: 120 bpm
Maximum Heart Rate: 161 bpm
Bike: Cannondale Bad Boy

Route: Severn Bridge Sportive 2013
Activity: Cycle
Ride Link: http://cyclemeter.com/9fb89c614db84b86/Cycle-20130602-0638?r=x
Started: 2 Jun 2013 06:38:54
Ride Time: 7:28:02
Stopped Time: 3:19:29
Distance: 133.30 miles
Average Speed: 17.85 mph
Fastest Speed: 44.33 mph
Ascent: 5814 feet
Descent: 5760 feet
Calories: 4697
Average Heart Rate: 123 bpm (artificially low as I left it on when stopped at Combe)
Maximum Heart Rate: 189 bpm
Bike: Raleigh Milk Race Special 1986

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