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Black Rat Challenge

17/05/2015 - Bristol - Sportive

Rating: 84.4% based on 4 reviews - Rate this Event Now
Previous Years Rating: 86.1% based on 126 reviews

The Black Rat Three Bridges Ride in May 2014 was very successful but we took note of one common complaint - the last drag back to last year's start/finish from the Severn Bridge. The rest of the route was universally popular so we kept all the good bits, moved the start/finish and got rid of the bad bit!

Our new start/finish will now be located at Clifton Rugby Club in Cribbs Causeway, about 1km from Junction 17 of the M5. The facilities are superb, with plenty of on site parking, ample changing, showering and toilet facilities, a great club house in which to relax afterwards and on site catering for pre ride bacon sarnies!

The club gives excellent access to our route and means that there is virtually no riding on busy roads.

We will have three routes to choose from, a Piccolofondo route of 83km, a Mediofondo route of approx 120km or a Granfondo route of 161km. 

The rides will start at 8.30am and last riders need to leave the club by 9.30am. After leaving the club you will ride on the Cribbs Causeway dual carriageway for 1km. Subject to Police agreement, the inside lane will be cordoned off for the start to ensure rider safety. After 1km you will turn off of this road into Hollywood Lane and will remain on country lanes for the next 18km until you reach the Severn Bridge.

The cycle lane that crosses the bridge will take you to Chepstow, which you will pass through, heading towards the Racecourse and on towards Tintern. The first climb of the day meets you after you pass the Racecourse and head towards St. Arvans. This is just a leg warmer though! After making the climb a great descent into Tintern is next up, taking you alongside the River Wye and past the famous landmark of Tintern Abbey.

The routes split after leaving Tintern, with Granfondo riders heading across the River Wye to Gloucestershire and Mediofondo and Piccolofondo riders tackling the 5km climb up to Trelleck.

Granfondo riders will immediately be welcomed back to England by the climb that will take you high up in the Forest of Dean towards Ellwood. The payback though is the excellent descent that so many people raved about last year down to Parkend in the heart of the Forest. (looking out for wandering sheep on the way down!)  After Parkend you will ride through the Forest towards Speech House and then turn towards Coleford where another short, but tough climb awaits you.

After leaving Coleford, you will now be heading back to Wales down the outstanding Staunton Road towards Monmouth. This descent has recently been resurfaced and with no tight bends, gives you an opportunity to swoop down at a good pace all the way. You will ride through Monmouth and immediately head for the hills with the long but beautiful climb up towards Trelleck where you will rejoin riders on the Mediofondo and Piccolofondo routes.

From Trelleck, all riders will ride towards the hamlet of Llanishen. Here, Mediofondo and Granfondo riders will turn right before dropping down towards Raglan Castle. The countryside views (for those that aren't head down, flat out) are wonderful along this part of the route. After Raglan, the road heads towards Abergavenny before turning down the superb Usk Valley. This road is fast, swoopy and long. You will be smiling all the way! Unfortunately there is a bit of a sting after Usk with a 2km climb but you will be rewarded with more superb descending alongside the river afterwards.

At Llanishen, Piccolofondo riders will continue towards Devauden where they will then enjoy the fantastic 7km descent that takes them to Chepstow Racecourse where they will rejoin the other two routes.

All routes will rejoin at Chepstow Racecourse. Once you arrive back in Chepstow you will take the cycle path back across the Severn Bridge before riding along more country lanes back to the start/finish where you will be able to collect your souvenir Black Rat Tankard and fill it with free Black Rat Cider and enjoy a hot pasty.

As always, the ride will be fully supported by our friends from Chaos Cycles in Bristol who will be on hand to fix puncture, broken chains and even lend a bike as one person found last year! Riders will be electronically timed and the excellent route marshals supplied by Chepstow TA will again be situated around the course to give you directions and support.

Event Website

HQ/Start Address
Address Line 1 Clifton Rugby Club
Address Line 2 Station Road, Cribbs Causeway
Town Bristol
County Bristol
Postcode BS10 7TT
Event Facilities
Adequate Car Parking Facilities Adequate Car Parking Facilities
Changing Rooms Changing Rooms
Showers Showers
Food & Drink (Pre/Post Event) Food & Drink (Pre/Post Event)
Sign-on at HQ Sign-on at HQ

Support for Participants
Route card with emergency contact details Route card with emergency contact details
SAG wagon following laster rider(s) SAG wagon following laster rider(s)

Organiser Details
Name Jeremy Humphries
Email Email Hidden
Phone 0117 3250777
Address Line 1 Unit 52, Spike Island
Address Line 2 133 Cumberland Road
Town Bristol
County Bristol
Postcode BS1 6UX

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