Event Review

REVIEW: Great Weston Ride 2015

by Jennifer Trotman

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REVIEW: Great Weston Ride 2015 

Date: Sunday 19 July 2015 
Distances: 56 mile basic route with optional addition loops 
Entry fee: £26.50 
Participants: c.1100 
Start: Long Ashton Park & Ride, Bristol. 
Feedstops: water stop and food stop 
Timing: N/A 
Signs: black arrows on yellow background 
Roads: scenic on mostly quiet country roads. 
Photos: www.sportivephoto.com   
Goody bag: medal, free hot food at end 

Welcome to the Great Weston Ride. My sixth I believe, meaning I've done 'em all. It's become something of a tradition, including several of us riding from our various homes to the start. Somehow we managed to get somewhat lost and turn an 18 mile ride to the start into a 22 mile one...  But hey, the roads were quiet, it was dry and mild and we still got to where we had to be on time. 

We arrived at Long Ashton Park & Ride and it was already busy, full of riders and families and cars and bikes. Time for us to get ready too, so we headed off to sign in. The alphabetised queues for registration were clearly marked, but for some reason mine seemed to be the longest, and queuing took quite a while. 




Eventually I was given my number, two (rather short) cable ties and a card with contact details. I helped myself to free 9Bars and headed back to my mates. Joining the queue for the Ladies proved that there were quite a lot of women riders, which made for a nice change. 

Although the GWR is a tradition, this year's route could be different. I say could be not would be because although the usual 56 mile route remained, the organisers had added three optional little detours to it to add both miles and hills. If I wasn't local and didn't know all the extra bits already I probably would have decided to try them, but we decided to stick with the traditional route for another year.  

Time to join the groups lining up for the start. The two motorcycle medics were watching on as we were given our rider briefing, shown the signage and told to be careful going down the hill after Priddy. So forewarned and forearmed, off we went.   




I know better than to hurtle off though, you always get instantly stopped by the traffic lights at the entrance and then another set after that before you get to head off through Long Ashton - and this year was no exception!  Once underway again the road through Long Ashton rolls a bit, has lots of parked cars and a seriously dubious road surface. However, the section afterwards is lovely fast and flat so we got to overtake a fair few which is always fun.   

This was something of a theme for the entire day. With it being more of a charity ride than a sportive, there's no timing and a whole range of riders out there to enjoy the day, rather than get a good time. Which apart from meaning I can overtake folk also means it's got a really nice, friendly atmosphere. People chat as they go by, families wait by the side of the road to cheer on their riders; it's all quite refreshing. 

Through Barrow Gurney we stopped briefly to stash layers, then carried on up to the traffic lights and up, literally, the A38 briefly. Not briefly enough really as it's a fast road and all the traffic using it seems to desperately have to be somewhere. We weren't on it for long distance wise, but the drag up made it take longer than it would have otherwise. Overtaking slower riders was also tricky, so it was nice to turn left off it and head east through Winford.   

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Official Review

1. Feed Stops (correct foodstuffs and energy drinks, the right many, well spaced) 10 out of 10
2. Timing (correct and easy to use) n/a
3. Signage (Clear, concise, maps, profiles, route card) 9 out of 10
4. Facilities (HQ, Parking, Toilets) 9 out of 10
5. Support (Sag Wagon, Outriders) 10 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?) 9 out of 10
9. Would you recommend it. (Would you ride again?) 10 out of 10
Overall Rating 96.7%