Event Review

REVIEW: Tour of Wessex - Day Two and Three

by Jennifer Trotman

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Welcome to Day 2 of the Tour of Wessex. Just for once I'd managed a decent pre-sportive night's sleep, and I wasn't all that thrilled by the 5:45 alarm call; still, time to get up. Fellow Cyclosport writer, Sean - who was due to be riding the remaining two days - and I consumed various incarnations of oats before loading up the car. 

We set off on time, and after a bumpy but uneventful drive we arrived at Somerton. However, this time we were marshalled not onto the playing field, which was apparently no longer fit for purpose, but into a nearby industrial estate. Hard standing has it's upsides though - no grass in your cleats for one! It also meant access to indoor toilets without any queues. Result. 

ToW1
Sean lounging around

The weather was much nicer this morning, but after Day 1′s antics I really wasn't sure whether to believe it or not. I decided to wear somewhat less because it was supposed to get something approaching warm later. It was, according to Guy, 0.9 miles flat riding to the start. Actually getting to the start involved going around HQ and through all the parking/camping etc, which had an element of cyclocross to it, but somehow I managed to avoid the grass. 

Having removed any self-applied pressure to do the whole 335 miles yesterday, I still hadn't really decided what I was doing today. After all, today's long route was to head South to the coast and back, and included one of my favourite stretches of road to ride - along the coast above Bovington Camp to Corfe Castle, so I was thinking I'd still like to do that. 

ToW2
Riders penned up

We joined the start line somewhat further back this time, although still rather too close to a speaker for comfort. The Start/Finish arch was missing, having blown down the day before. The commentator did his best to jolly us all along, and since it wasn't raining, things were already looking up. 

The first section of the route was lovely country roads, and fairly flat - always good for warming up. I did my best to stay with the group, but it really wasn't good enough. Hit an incline, and I dropped like a stone... However, on one such up, I was very pleased to discover Gary waiting for me. I took advantage of the stop to stash the waterproof away, and although I was a bit chilly for a bit it definitely helped. Having ridden this route three times before, I knew there was a particularly big lump ahead of us, but had conveniently forgotten the numerous others that came first!   

ToW3
Cerne abbas giant

In previous years the food stop has been at the lay-by near the cerne abbas Giant, and we stopped there anyway, to immortalise him once more. It turns out that a lot of people were so busy concentrating where they were going that they missed him, which is a shame, since landmarks are part of what makes this particular route so nice. 


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Official Review

1. Feed Stops (correct foodstuffs and energy drinks, the right many, well spaced) 7 out of 10
2. Timing (correct and easy to use) 7 out of 10
3. Signage (Clear, concise, maps, profiles, route card) 9 out of 10
4. Facilities (HQ, Parking, Toilets) 8 out of 10
5. Support (Sag Wagon, Outriders) 10 out of 10
6. Friendliness / Professionalism (Sign-in, marshals, support) 10 out of 10
7. Website - ease of use (Online and postal entry, clear concise) 7 out of 10
8. The Course (Area of outstanding beauty/scenic, quiet roads, cleverly designed?) 7 out of 10
9. Would you recommend it. (Would you ride again?) 7 out of 10
Overall Rating 80.0%




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