Event Review

REVIEW: The Lionheart Sportive 2015

by Jennifer Trotman

GB Flag

REVIEW: The Lionheart Sportive 2015 

Date: Sunday 22nd March 
Distances: 100km or 100miles 
Entry fee: £40.00 for 100km, £42.00 for £100miles. 
Participants: 1300 
Start: Longleat Safari Park 
Feedstops: three on short route, four on long route   
Catering: event village, free hotpot at finish. 
Timing: Helmet sticker - provisional results up by Sunday night 
Signs: White arrows on green (short route), white arrows on red (long route) 
Roads: Scenic on mostly quiet country roads, some main roads, timed closed-road hill climb. 
Photos: SportCam Photography 
Goody bag: Medal & goody bag (full of free samples) 

This was my fourth time doing The Lionheart, since you can't really count the one that got snowed out, and the forecast was for dry, chilly, and not much wind. Good start. And having done three rides since my training camp, which had gone pretty well, I was actually sort of looking forward to it. I wanted to know if training camps actually work. I was all set for it. Ready to ride 100 miles again. 

I did not sleep well, as usual pre-sportive. But I was up at 5:00am with the alarm without any problem. I'd done most of my faffing the night before, so after the usual coffee and cereal, I loaded myself and many layers into the car, and enjoyed the hour's drive to HQ at Longleat Safari Park. 

LH1

LH2

Thanks to the pre-entry pack, there's no need to register on the day for this one. Having said that, it could have been more informative. Although it came with a whole heap of rider number stickers, and the essential timing chip, that was pretty much it and all the actual event information was online as a pdf. I'd read it. Some hadn't. I knew that I was supposed to be there an hour before my entry time, that the 100 milers would be leaving before the 100 kmers and that entry times would be sent out the Tuesday before the event. 

Well if they were, I didn't get mine. I did however remember this fact, and checked the entry list on-line, which said that my start time was 8:04am.  All of which meant I arrived at around 7:00am, and was marshalled onto the parking on the grass by the event village. 

There were no women-only toilet cubicles, unlike last year, but at this point neither this nor queues was an issue, which was good. Then it was back to the car to find some cash, having spotted that Claud the Butler was once again present. I don't usually do pre-ride coffee, but I'll make an exception for very good coffee, which is what they do. As I was standing in the short queue for my short americano, my mate Rob turned up. Not only was it good to see him, but this was a familiar face that then agreed to ride with me for a bit too - bonus! 

LH3

LH4

Just as we were making our way to the start line, I had second thoughts about my tyre pressures and decided to actually do something about it rather than leaving it.  Just as well - they were both well down, though I've no idea why. Rubber inflated, we set off on a little 10 minute ride through the arboretum to get to the start line. Which was a bit weird.  

Human Race have taken The Lionheart over and clearly made some changes. The Start (and Finish) line is on the main drive now - but facing the house. It's a lot easier to line riders up here than wiggling them around the house, and this also means they don't get in the way of arriving traffic or departing riders.  But the little ride is a bit of an awkward way to get them there.   

The first four miles are around the estate, and mostly uphill. This is not the nicest way in the world to warm up, and it's a mistake to push it (not that I could) because it's too early in the day for that. So Rob kept me company while we slowly bimbled around, failing to see the lions, and then climbing the long hill out of the estate together. It was cold. Very cold. But we were rapidly warming up!  

LH5

LH6

Once at the top, we stopped, stashed gilets, and then out into the country lanes we went.  After half an hour of company and tolerance, as I dropped back on a hill, Rob headed off to test out his legs. Not that I was complaining, we were probably both happier doing our own thing, but it was nice to have some company for a little while 

I don't remember much of the first hour or so.  There were various ups and downs. The ups weren't bothering me too much, and downs are always good.  It was all a bit sort of unremarkable, probably because it was grey and cloudy and cold and I hadn't really warmed up. The first foodstop came and went at the 18 mile mark, and I decided not to stop as it was too soon for me. We headed west towards familiar territory, and then south. Life got more scenic, with nice climbs and nice views. 

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Official Review

1. Feed Stops (correct foodstuffs and energy drinks, the right many, well spaced) 10 out of 10
2. Timing (correct and easy to use) 10 out of 10
3. Signage (Clear, concise, maps, profiles, route card) 8 out of 10
4. Facilities (HQ, Parking, Toilets) 8 out of 10
5. Support (Sag Wagon, Outriders) 5 out of 10
6. Friendliness / Professionalism (Sign-in, marshals, support) 7 out of 10
7. Website - ease of use (Online and postal entry, clear concise) 9 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?) 6 out of 10
Overall Rating 77.8%




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