Event Review

REVIEW: Wiggle Ashdown Sportive 2015

by Caven O'Hara

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REVIEW: Wiggle Ashdown Sportive 2015

Essentials
Distances: 51 & 68 miles 
Participants: 750 
Start: Ardingly Showground, West Sussex 
Transport: Haywards Heath Station 4.4 miles 
Feedstops: 1, 2 
Timed: Yes 
Signs: White arrows on an orange background 
Road: The sun came out to play, providing a glorious backdrop to some fast descents and challenging climbs that showcased the best Sussex has to offer. 

The forecast had tantalisingly suggested Saturday would not only be dry, but sunny too - potentially hitting 12c! Tropical! However, that was a lot to promise after what has felt like months of waiting for winter to draw to a close. It felt like an omen for taking on the brand new Wiggle Ashdown Sportive. 

It was with some trepidation that I pulled back the curtains to reveal a slightly grey but dry morning. The difficulty with early spring can be the dilemma of what to wear. Will it be cold to start with and then warm up, or will it just stay cool? I decided to go with knee warmers, jersey and arm warmers with a gilet as the wind was supposed to be gusty. It turned out to be a sound choice. 

WA1
Registration

WA2
Ready for the off

Living down the road from the start has many advantages. A lie in, no car journey and generally less faff. I'd arranged to meet Ray en-route at 07:45, all very civilised. We rolled up to the Showground to find plenty of riders already checked-in and the queues minimal. Keeping with the day's theme, there was little faff. Timing chips attached on the helmet and numbers on the bikes and were lining up for the safety briefing. 

Heading out of the showground it was a left to spin up to Turners Hill and the start of what was a day with plenty of climbing packed into the 68 miles of the epic route. The wind was the other factor that made this a tough day in the saddle. Gusting and on the bitter side, it did a grand job of taking the edge off the warmth the sun was trying to share. 

WA3
Pootling

WA4
PowerBar anyone?

From Turners Hill it was west to Handcross, which provided the westernmost point of the route, and then south to Cuckfield. Already we had witnessed some rolling terrain, in and out of the wind, as well as the climbs and descents. The next part of the route could be described as tooth like. We passed through Balcombe, beneath the viaduct that carries train commuters from Brighton to London and on to the outskirts of Lindfield, passing by the road to Ray's house. 

Back through Ardingly and then onto Horsted Keynes brought us to the day's first feed station. In keeping with previous Wiggle events, the station was packed with all sorts of goodies - Dairy Milk, Powerbar wafers, flap jacks and plenty more. Your usual energy drinks were on offer along with tea or coffee. Not bad at all. 

WA5
Happy riders

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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) 9 out of 10
3. Signage (Clear, concise, maps, profiles, route card) 9 out of 10
4. Facilities (HQ, Parking, Toilets) 10 out of 10
5. Support (Sag Wagon, Outriders) 9 out of 10
6. Friendliness / Professionalism (Sign-in, marshals, support) 9 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?) 9 out of 10
9. Would you recommend it. (Would you ride again?) 10 out of 10
Overall Rating 93.3%




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