Event Review

REVIEW: Stafford Goes Pedalling Sportive 2014

by Sean Lacey

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REVIEW: Stafford Goes Pedalling Sportive 2014

Date: Saturday 2nd August
Distances: 35 miles, 70 miles 
Entry fee: £25.00 (35 miles), £29.00 (70 miles) 
Start: Shugborough Estate - parking £3, HQ and event village, facilities and food / drink available 
Feedstops: 1 on the short route, 2 on the long route 
Catering: Hot/cold drinks and food available before and after the ride, free beer at the end 
Timed: Timing chip attached to bike number   
Signs: Way-marked route with signage 
Roads: Good routes on quiet lanes and minor B roads with a couple of bigger climbs in Cannock Chase. Photographers out around the route  
Goody bag: Pre-event pack sent out with gloves and buff, INTO cycling bag filled with goodies and a free half pint after the ride 
Photos: Sean Lacey 

Now in its second year, Stafford Goes Pedalling consists of two sportives and new MTB race set between two professional races - a city-centre criterium on Friday in Stafford, and the kermesse held within the Shugborough estate that the sportives start and finish in. Overall the two days bring in big numbers of spectators and riders alike in a celebration of cycling that is something of a rarity in the Midlands. 

Workload meant I couldn't make the Friday night race, but friends went and said it was a really good evening and great racing. However, being slightly better prepared than I was last year I did get to Shugborough bright and early on Saturday morning with everything I needed for the day ahead. A number of friends were riding too, I managed to speak to most of them before the start but my usual riding buddy Kev was unusually late today meaning the others had all set off into the drizzly conditions by the time we were ready. No matter, today wasn't one for chasing records with rain forecast for the morning. Following almost the same route as last year, we headed out of Shugborough and through Cannock Chase, although dropping some of the climbing to make for a slightly easier first part. 

Wet start 

Alison Salthouse, up for her longest ride yet 

Moving away from Cannock the roads headed out into scenic farmland and rolling terrain, passing by Rugeley and King's Bromley, an old haunt of mine (and still holding weekly evening cycling sessions) Curborough race track, skirting the city of Lichfield and the National Memorial Arboretum. 

Passing Catton Park wasn't quite as interesting this year, as last time the Bloodstock heavy metal festival was in full swing with bleary-eyed rock fans staggering from the camping area to the festival site. This time around we were a week out and they were just starting to set up the infrastructure. Maybe if it's well timed again next year I can combine the two as I keep promising to go! 

A short distance on and the first feed stop, once more at ex-pro rider Adrian Timmis's shop, Cadence Sport. Kev nipped in for goodies while I snapped a picture, returning with Honey Stinger waffles and jelly chews. I'd not had these before, but they turned out to be pretty tasty and did the trick for a quick stop. We had been told that the second feed wasn't a big distance from this one so didn't hang around. 

Cadence feed 

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Official Review

1. Feed Stops (correct foodstuffs and energy drinks, the right many, well spaced) 6 out of 10
2. Timing (correct and easy to use) 9 out of 10
3. Signage (Clear, concise, maps, profiles, route card) 6 out of 10
4. Facilities (HQ, Parking, Toilets) 8 out of 10
5. Support (Sag Wagon, Outriders) 5 out of 10
6. Friendliness / Professionalism (Sign-in, marshals, support) 8 out of 10
7. Website - ease of use (Online and postal entry, clear concise) 8 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?) 8 out of 10
Overall Rating 74.4%

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