Event Review

REVIEW: Polocini Winter Warmer 2015

by Sean Lacey

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REVIEW: Polocini Winter Warmer 2015


Date: Sunday 2nd November  
Distances: 100km 
Entry fee: £20.00 
Start: Woodford Centre, Woodford, Cheshire. Parking available on site 
Feedstops: 1 
Catering: Hot food and drinks available before and after the ride at no cost 
Timed: No  
Signs: Way-marked route with signage (black arrows on a yellow background) 
Roads: Great route on quiet lanes and minor B roads, minimal main roads and mostly flat with a couple of climbs in the last few miles. Photographer from www.cyclesportphotos.com on the route 

So here it is, after another busy year of riding, my last event of 2014. I had meant to ride a Polocini event earlier in the season, but dates just didn't match up so I was pleased to finish the year with this one, also their last event of the year - the Winter Warmer. Ironically, but to all our benefits, the weather was still in its extended summer mode, making the tag somewhat redundant! 

Great start to the day 

Jodrell Bank 

An easy drive out on a quiet Sunday morning through the lanes of Shropshire and Cheshire isn't a bad way to start the day, and arriving at the HQ to a very relaxed atmosphere, along with cheerful crew signing us on and to my delight, free tea, coffee and steaming hot bowls of porridge. It's well known that I enjoy my food on rides, so it would have been rude not too. The atmosphere was so relaxed, that even though I arrived 45 minutes early, after coffee and porridge then getting sorted, the start line was open, and I was one of the last out. Oops. Never mind, as I said it was a lovely day for it and although alone at this point I was in no rush and content to enjoy the (new to me for the most part) route. 

Heading away from Woodford towards the south-west, with five flat miles before a gentle rise up passing through farmland and villages, it reminded me a lot of my local Shropshire riding, only with a lot less farms and an awful lot more big, expensive houses! As promised, the going was fairly easy on the rolling terrain with only the wind to test you, as we passed Jodrell Bank (what ride around this way would be complete without it?) and Goostrey before heading north towards Knutsford. The one feed on the route was situated in a lane outside High Legh, and stocked to the gills with various cakes and bars and other treats, with water butts for liquid top ups. 

Roadside feed 

Autumn lanes (Cyclesportphotos) 

By this point I had caught up with other riders so from time to time had a little company for the rest of the ride as we skirted Tatton Park, on to Ashley, then turning south to Mobberley and the start of the climbing. Nothing too tough or steep, with a long and picturesque woodland climb up onto Alderley Edge, then a fast descent down and a few lumps in-between into the lovely town of Bollington. Heading out of the centre of town the road rears up again, with a fairly long climb followed by another long descent back to the flat roads leading us back to the HQ. 

It was fairly quiet at the centre when I arrived, it seems that despite leaving late my form had returned a little and I had overhauled a fair number, which was a nice surprise. This also meant there wasn't a queue for the frankly outstanding post-ride meal, in the form of chicken or vegetable curry with rice and warm flatbread, by Masterchef finalists, The Hungry Gecko. Needless to say I was in a good place right there, but conscious of the amount of riders yet to return, I gave the chef my compliments rather than trying to secure a second helping. 

Back early 

Post ride heaven 

Mr Polocini, Allen Bridge, has been running events both here and in Europe for some time now and knows what does and doesn't work. He took the decision to strip back both the number and 'filler' of his events in the UK, and concentrate on just providing a solid event. 

This has given the ride a very relaxed feel as I've said before, almost like a mass club run and the provision of good food throughout really makes a difference. If nothing else, people socialise before and after at the HQ rather than turn up, ride and go, giving the opportunity to chat with fellow riders. Signage was spot on - this was thoroughly tested as my Garmin was playing up - and the route was a delight, taking in an area of the country I would be keen to ride again. 

Recommended, good value for money and I will definitely be returning! 

Route: http://app.strava.com/activities/214685665.

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) n/a
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) 7 out of 10
8. The Course (Area of outstanding beauty/scenic, quiet roads, cleverly designed?) 8 out of 10
9. Would you recommend it. (Would you ride again?) 9 out of 10
Overall Rating 84.4%

1 Comment

21st November 2014 1:09pm Kev Sp wrote:

really makes me want to book this for 2015 - sounds like a great ride out and some nice photos considering you'd lost your regular photographer Sean ;-)