Event Review

REVIEW: The Great Weston Ride 2014

by Jennifer Trotman

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REVIEW: The Great Weston Ride 2014 


These days, since I'm doing less events, my tendency is to look to do events that I haven't done before.  But as always, there are exceptions to the rule, and the Great Weston Ride is always one of those.  It's local, so it's one of the few times I actually use the bike in a "green" fashion - as my mode of transport to get to where I need to be to do what I'm going to do and then get home again, and it's run by lovely friendly folk. This year would be five in a row for me. 

So, 6:00am on Sunday morning and I was the first, for a change, at Shute Shelve. Soon though, Guy and then Clayton joined.  The weather was already looking promising, and my decision to leave the waterproof at home seemed to have been wise. Guy, who knows the many and various ways in and out of Bristol thanks to his commuting, once more led us on our way to event HQ at Long Ashton Park and Ride.   

Mechanical support

HQ didn't feel as busy as some years, but since I gather more people did the event than ever before - maybe we were just earlier than everyone else. On the upside, this meant precious little queuing for the toilets. However, the mechanics were still pretty busy.  I was hoping to get them to have a look at my gearing, as having had a spacer fitted to the new cassette on Friday the gears had been a bit clicky on the way in. Even after I'd parked my bike with them, queued for registration and gone back again they were still flat-out though, so I decided I could live with it.   

Registration itself was easy enough - if you had paid attention to the signs which told you which surname-alphabetised queue you should be in - which I had. I reached the front, was given my number - 903 - two cable ties, an emergency contact card and a free 9bar. Job done. 

There's something about blue skies and sunshine and milling around multi-coloured lycra - it just looks nice. Especially with all the flowers and landscaping around. There were a few familiar faces too, unsurprising I guess what with it being so local. We didn't hang around to chat much though, instead the three of us headed off towards the start. Talking of familiar faces, Andy Cook (of Andy Cook Cycling) was there, splitting the riders into groups and ride organiser, Darren was the one giving the briefings to each group away. It was nice to have a brief chat to both of them. 


Following our briefing, with all the usual highlights including warnings about the road surfaces (it's Somerset - they're all rubbish!) and the descent of Westbury Hill we were on our way, heading back out the way we'd just come in. It was clear that Guy and Clayton were on form, and they frequently drew away from me. This wasn't helped by occasional traffic lights and the busy main road stretch up the A38 after Barrow Gurney, where overtaking other riders was tricky and we got a bit separated. This left me having to chase to catch the pair of them on the downs or flats as best I could.   

The ACG are friendly

Chew valley lakes

After crossing Chew Valley Lake and waving at the family waiting there - presumably to wave at Dad and not us - the roads started to include up bits, which unsurprisingly split us up again. The road along through Blagdon is a bit draggy, and I was no better at hills today than I ever am. Having said that, although they were ahead of me, after a while that gap seemed to settle down to a fairly constant length.   

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Official Review

1. Feed Stops (correct foodstuffs and energy drinks, the right many, well spaced) 7 out of 10
2. Timing (correct and easy to use) n/a
3. Signage (Clear, concise, maps, profiles, route card) 7 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) 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?) 8 out of 10
9. Would you recommend it. (Would you ride again?) 10 out of 10
Overall Rating 90.0%