Event Review

REVIEW: Coast to Coast in a Day 2014

by Nick Gregory

GB Flag

REVIEW: Coast to Coast in a Day 2014

Essentials

Date: 28 June 
Distance: 150 miles 
Cost: £70 
Participants: 750 
Start: Seascale 
Finish: Whitby 
Feedstops: Four - brilliantly well-stocked. 
Timed: Yes, wrist tag 
Signs: Faultlessly throughout - fluro yellow on black 
Roads: Mainly quiet b-roads through challenging terrain, occasionally busy but only when unavoidable 
Extras: Medal, buff/ neck warmer, ClifBar products 
Entry Includes: Kit bag transfer from Seascale to Whitby, Windermere ferry crossing, showers and changing facilities at the finish 
Photos: Courtesy of Open Cycling

Lungs are burning, legs are filling with lactic, eyes are stinging with sweat; weaving, crawling, but still moving - just. There's always the option to get off and push, but those on foot are slipping and sliding. 30% is just too steep to be walking up in cleets. It's too steep for anything really. However, with one final heave of the pedals the road flattens, and the top of Hardknott Pass is reached. Just 135 miles to go then... 

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Riding across the country from coast to coast is on the bucket list for many cyclists; along with Land's End to John o' Groats, it's arguably the most iconic ride in Britain. Most will do it at a leisurely pace, over a number of days, however, a few years ago Open Cycling threw down the gauntlet for anyone brave enough to attempt it as a single day sportive - 150 miles and 4,500m of climbing from Seascale on the West coast to Whitby on the East coast. The route takes riders from the mountainous Lake District, through the undulating Yorkshire Dales, along the flat Vale of York before tackling the vicious North York Moors on the final leg to Whitby. 

Given that - unlike most sportives, which are essentially a loop - this event starts and finishes in different places, the team at Open Cycling have a rather major logistical operation to sort out. Nevertheless, they executed it with aplomb; coach transfers were laid on for riders and their bikes from the fairly central location of Penrith, to both the start in Seascale on Friday night, and from the finish in Whitby back to Penrith on Sunday morning. 

Having been off the bike for over a month in the lead up to this event, the transfer from Penrith to the start in Seascale was enough alone to get the butterflies going in my stomach; it's hard to describe just how spectacular the Lake District is - vast valleys that seem as wide as they are deep, guarded by imposing mountains that go up and up... You lose all sense of scale and proportion. I'd never visited, let alone ridden a bike up here before, but it quickly became apparent that Box Hill was going to be pretty small fry in comparison to tomorrow's menu of pain and suffering. As I sat staring out of the coach window there wasn't a cloud in the sky, and as the sun set between two imperious giants of Britain's most famous national park, it was impossible not to be blown away by the magnificence of the surroundings. I'd suffer, but one couldn't wish for a more beautiful place in which to do so. 

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Arriving in Seascale we were dropped at the village hall to register, which was handy as it meant one less thing to do in the morning. We were given a map, bike number, a couple of ClifBars and our timing chips. Afterwards, it was up to the local school, which was being used as the campsite for the evening, to reassemble the bike post-transfer. There were mechanics on hand for anyone having last minute issues, and there was a food stand selling hot goods. Eventually it was time to try and catch some shut eye. 


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Official Review

1. Feed Stops (correct foodstuffs and energy drinks, the right many, well spaced) 9 out of 10
2. Timing (correct and easy to use) 9 out of 10
3. Signage (Clear, concise, maps, profiles, route card) 10 out of 10
4. Facilities (HQ, Parking, Toilets) 9 out of 10
5. Support (Sag Wagon, Outriders) 9 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) 9 out of 10
8. The Course (Area of outstanding beauty/scenic, quiet roads, cleverly designed?) 10 out of 10
9. Would you recommend it. (Would you ride again?) 10 out of 10
Overall Rating 94.4%




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