Event Review

REVIEW: NSPCC Tour of the South East - Day 1

by Jennifer Trotman

GB Flag

My gears were a little out, so I took the bike to the mechanic at the food stop, around 25 miles in, to get them adjusted - which he did perfectly. Gotta love this supported riding stuff! The food stop was, as they all were, fairly basic but adequate - with bars, gels, water/energy drink. 

Kent is not flat. Lots of climbing without lots of hills, if you see what I mean. Rolling, but with some big rolls! There were, however, exceptions to the rule, and today's main exception was Kidds Hill, which came about 36 miles in. Having arrived at the bottom en masse we were all then sent off at 30 second intervals to play at chasing KOM, or indeed, QOM. And yes, as billed, it was pretty hard work - consistently steep, a bit more so at the bottom and then ramped up a bit again towards the top. But it was not quite as bad as I'd feared it would be, and realising that, I just sat back and crawled up in my usual way. Half way up the NSPCC team were out, cheering and clapping and rattling things, which was a nice touch. 

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Chasing the KOM

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Crossing the KOM line

It took quite a while to get us all up to the somewhat damp top, but the weather was improving and the big hill of the day was behind us, so everyone was pretty cheerful as they waited. I was allowed to enjoy the descent my way - fast! Luckily, as long as I waited up afterwards, Ian, our ride leader, was ok with that. Right, time for lunch. Which really was lunch. I opted for beef lasagne rather than chicken curry, on the basis that it was probably the safer of the two options, and it was very nice, as it happens! I passed on the cake that came too though - I thought that might be a step too far. 

As we sat around, taking it easy, various juggling was going on to get everyone fed, including crew, as faster groups came and went. Unsurprisingly we were caught and overtaken by faster groups both en route and at stops - there were 4 Groups seeded by speed - and as we were leaving yet another group arrived.  

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Lunch

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Smiling riders arriving 

There was a bit of debate as to which way we needed to exit, as we couldn't see the usual arrow from where we were, but shortly we were grouped up, led out, and escorted on our way again. Since I usually sound like a steam engine going uphills, it amused me when one actually passed us going the other way... 

Although I was dropping like a stone on every hill, I wasn't the slowest up them by far, and when it came to the flat/down, as I may have mentioned, I was fairly fast. Half of us would have like to be doing a faster speed when possible, half of us couldn't, but we had to stay as a group, which was a bit frustrating. I made the most of the patches when I could do my thing, and waited afterwards as instructed, which was better than nothing. 

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Traction engine


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Official Review

1. Feed Stops (correct foodstuffs and energy drinks, the right many, well spaced) 8 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) 8 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) 10 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 93.3%




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