Event Review

REVIEW: Santini Cotswold Spring Classic 2015

by Jennifer Trotman

GB Flag

By the time we got to the first foodstop at Performance Cycles HQ (event partners & also mechanical support) at Paulton, around 35 miles in, it was time to take action. I topped up my bottles, grabbed half a banana, and queued for quite a while for the toilets - 2 portable toilets and one urinal cubicle was not cutting it.  It was however the best place to do the obvious as well as taking off some layers, which I stashed away as best I could.  

Time to head off again, all the time debating my options with myself.  As I understood it the route split was at around 70 mile, at which point we'd be nearly back at HQ, so it would be a choice between 72 miles or 100.  I really wanted to do the long route, to get that first 100 miles of the season under my belt, before I got a real mental block about it.  But I still really didn't know what I was going to do. In the meantime I was feeling pretty good.  I was eating regularly, and drinking more as I sweated my way around the countryside.  The weather was gorgeous, and so far it was all pretty much working. 

Somewhat to my surprise the route split actually came at 60 miles, a little while after things had started going up in the world a little more often, and before I'd decided what to do.  And it just felt too early to go home.  So as it happens I didn't even think about it, I just took the long route right turn. 

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They weren't lying about the climbing though... There were lots and lots of big long steep hills. Hard work, especially being so warm. So I broke it all down into chunks to deal with. 40 miles to go. Last 6 miles flat, so that's 34 miles really. I took a break every hour, just to kick back a little, eat and drink, and recalibrate, and the second food stop broke things up too.   

I chatted to the photographers lurking on hills.  I grinned, or gurned, at other riders, depending on the gradient.  And I enjoyed the downhills of course.  It all worked out.  And I didn't walk.  A great many others did which, as ever, always makes me want to keep going that bit further...although walking might sometimes have been quicker! And those last 6 miles back along the main road to Cirencester were pretty flat, as promised.     

I was pretty close to bonking about two miles from the end...hot and tired I guess...but it seemed a bit late to eat anything.  Luckily I made it in and over the finish line without losing it completely.  First century of the year done, with around 7,000 feet of climbing! 

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Of course it was all worth it, because the goody bag included not only a voucher for free hot food, a well-earned medal and a cycling cap, but also an Easter Egg! I could have had free food, or a shower, but it had been a long hard day and I was falling asleep sitting around in the sunshine, so I decided just to head for home.  

It was a very good day out on the bike. Sunny, scenic, well-organised, and a real challenge, that I think I rose to.  There were far more girls than usual too, which was great to see - around 10% on the long route and more like 25% on the medium route - which is very rare.   

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It wasn't all great out there today though. There were some pretty grotty lanes, a couple of dodgy descents and some interesting patch resurfacing which left quite a few fixing punctures. I didn't enjoy the two stretches on the A419 much either, as it had far too much holiday traffic on it and didn't compare well with the quieter, scenic country lanes, even if it was faster and flatter!   

But overall it's a really good event, and as it costs £28, which is at the cheaper end of the scale these days - I'd definitely recommend it.  

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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) 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) 8 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?) 7 out of 10
9. Would you recommend it. (Would you ride again?) 9 out of 10
Overall Rating 85.6%




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