REVIEW: Wiggle Resolutions
by Caven O'Hara
- 28/01/2017 - Aldershot, Hampshire
Ride: Wiggle Resolutions
Distances: 17, 36 & 54 miles
Start: Aldershot Barracks, Aldershot
Transport: Train station 1 mile away
Signs: Black arrows on an orange background
Road: What better way to start the sportive year. A good mix of terrain and roads which were scenic and quiet plus a good mix of sunshine and enthusiasm.
Early season rides can be something of a lottery. The unpredictability of the weather, form or the parcours can lead to less enjoyment and more endure-ment. The first factor is beyond the control of anyone I know, the second is most firmly in our mitts and the third if undertaking one of the Wiggle sponsored rides then is pretty much an odds on favourite to deliver.
Sign on in style!
I had plumped for the UKCyclingEvents organised, Resolution, in January. A chance to get the legs spinning in a sportive sense and start upping the mileage ahead of my annual jaunt to ride one of the Spring Classics on the Continent. Accompanied as I will be in April by my three regular overseas riding companions it was also an early opportunity to gather and get some communal miles in. The location for this early test was the home of the British Army, Aldershot. It is many years since I lived in the area and at that time I wasn't into my riding so had no idea there was so much to offer.
Possibly the best sign on area yet..
The start/finish was hosted at the Army Sports Centre, which was more of a sprawling sports city. The facilities were seriously impressive and the boxing arena which provided the registration area was inspiring. Sign-on was straight-forward and quick, the back drop of the regimental banners and colours gave an indication of the honour and tradition that forms the backbone of our armed services. With the formalities out of the way, it was time to attach rider numbers to bikes and find Paul who had journeyed south to meet Ray, Lee and myself. There was already an orderly queue heading for the safety briefing and start line, so we tagged on the back and soon found ourselves clipping in and heading out in the town. With 700 riders attending this sold out opener, we only found ourselves lacking company once during our ride. The distance and terrain helped prevent riders getting strung out but again this offered a good balance, there will be more severe tests as the year unfolds, January isn't that time.
The route took us west out towards Dogmersfield on a fairly flat stretch which was great for warming up as the wind was taking the edge off the slightly milder temperature. With only subtle variations in elevation the first proper hill appears about 26Km in. Whilst expected the first climb is always a little bit of a surprise especially if you don't know the area. How long, how steep, yes you can glean the info from Strava or such like but it is nice to get it out of the way for real. We were now at our western most point as we turned in a more south-easterly direction at Preston Oak Hills, making our way towards Alton.
The usual selection, sir?
Before we got to the stop we were faced with some short, sharp climbs on some narrow lanes. Always a challenge, more so given the mucky conditions for both bike and rider. Despite the rise and fall of the terrain, there was always a view to alleviate the struggle against gravity. If that wasn't forth-coming then the descent kept you on your toes to, certainly as we approached the second stop. Unusually, a sharp descent led to an even sharper right turn at the foot of it to allow the second stop to be slotted into the route. What was nice given the time of year and the slightly wintery feel to the day, was the option of hot drinks at both stops alongside all the usual goodies you come to expect. Given the lack of temperature we took advantage on both occasions.
Refuelled we were soon on our way to Alton, it was a little busy but we were soon back out into open countryside and turning north to Wyck and Binstead. Working well, we soon passed through Bentley and as we approached the second feed stop were we going to head on but Lee suffered a timely puncture, if there is such a thing so we took advantage of the facilities whilst he changed tubes. The other nice touch with the food stops, is both were at halls so toilets were on hand.
Even the sun came out!
From here it was another challenging section, organisers seem to delight in giving you feed stop with plenty of tasty snacks before making you do some climbing! Granted the section towards Crondall, to the west of Farnham was the last real test. Before long we were heading into the outskirts of Aldershot, through the Army testing grounds before retracing our pedal strokes into the town itself. Over the line we were greeted by smiling volunteers, a theme throughout the day, including the marshals at all the busy junctions, who handed out a rather large medal and a handful of goodies. Just shy of 85Km and a shade over 800m of climbing made for a good ride.
It was nice to note the mix of riders, male and female and a healthy dose of kids thrown into the mix. This was a great marker for the season, not only in terms of mileage but the terrain covered. Roll on 2017.
I'll take this for January....
- 28/01/2017 - Aldershot, Hampshire
|1. Feed Stops (correct foodstuffs and energy drinks, the right many, well spaced)||out of 10|
|2. Timing (correct and easy to use)||out of 10|
|3. Signage (Clear, concise, maps, profiles, route card)||out of 10|
|4. Facilities (HQ, Parking, Toilets)||out of 10|
|5. Support (Sag Wagon, Outriders)||out of 10|
|6. Friendliness / Professionalism (Sign-in, marshals, support)||out of 10|
|7. Website - ease of use (Online and postal entry, clear concise)||out of 10|
|8. The Course (Area of outstanding beauty/scenic, quiet roads, cleverly designed?)||out of 10|
|9. Would you recommend it. (Would you ride again?)||out of 10|
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