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7 out of 10
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Black Rat Challenge

19/05/2019 - Bristol - Sportive

Rating: Rate this Event Now
Previous Years Rating: 86.2% based on 132 reviews

Previous Years Event Ratings

Rated Event: 92.222%

KevinGatward wrote:

Car parking was well organised with marshalls directing traffic. The sign on was painless and straightforward. The start was quite relaxed and riders filtered out when they were ready. Once on the road some of the signage left a bit to be desired as they were far too close to the junctions. The GPS route I had downloaded to my Garmin also did not always match up with the signs. At the split the sign was actually hidden until you were right on the junction. The Velothon was on the same day which our route crossed with. Unfortunately some guys on our Sportive had been turned back and they told our group that we should turn around and find a different route. When we got into Usk we phoned support who explained how to rejoin the route. Because of this we did an extra 4 miles or so. However this did not retract from the overall enjoyment of the ride. The scenery was great. We did have some rain but not unexpected.
The 'hog roast' was an improvement on the pasties last year. The usual Black Rat cider was also included; very welcome.
One last comment the organisers very helpfully found my mirror that I must have dropped at the end of the ride and returned it to me. My thanks to Jeremy and Rose for finding the mirror.

Rated Event: 94.444%

AndyAmmo wrote:

An excellent event. The puncture just in to Wales and the weather failed to spoil this event for me. Having to wait for the Velothon to go past was a bit of a pain, but I guess if I'd pedeled harder, I would have been quicker and got through before the 150 metre stretch was closed to the riders of The Black Rat.
fantastic scenery and nice choice of roads gave this ride a pleasureable experience. Great idea for post ride to have a hog roast and Black Rat cider. Just what I needed after the event. Nice and easy check in and also control that I had returned safe and sound. The support guy in the van was very helpful and friendly, even bringing out gels, bars and jaffa cakes when we got stopped by the velothon.
I'd be very happy to ride this sportive again.

Rated Event: 87.778%

OliB wrote:

Very friendly, well designed route, picturesque scenery in Monmouthshire and Forest of Dean. Well spaced food stops, though a bit more variety would have been welcome, perhaps a couple of extra savoury options would be welcome.
Challenging enough for me and although there was plenty of climbing it was fairly slow steady stuff, with climbs generally up to 200m of ascent. I didn't see anyone walking.

There was an issue with parking - plenty of people directed to Saracens car park were asked to move their cars elsewhere by a grumpy chap with another event later that day who was irritated that the carpark was filling up. Making sure that the car park was actually the sportives to use would be good.
Some people had trouble with the sign posting. I had downloaded the route before and had no trouble but there were some differences between the GPS route and the on road signage. It would have been useful to have a marshall at the second split point as although the signs were large and seemed clear, some people went wrong and there were other marshalls at spots which were less essential.
My first sportive and first 100mile ride and one I may well do again. Thank you!

Rated Event: 73.333%

Pete wrote:

Excellent signage (that roundabout excepted) and marshals at strategic points, good choice of routes, quite a lot of main road but thankfully quiet, plenty climbing but no leg-breakers.

Rated Event: 85.556%

KevinGatward wrote:

A mostly very enjoyable ride through superb countryside on mostly quiet roads. The hills were not particularly steep but were long and allowed you to get into a rythym. Signposting was not all that good and although I did not miss the signs I know many people did. When mentioned at the end we were informed they had trouble with signs being removed or changed.
In addition one of the Marshalls at Tintern sent us on the wrong road. Fortunately this joined up with the route at the first feed station.
Again the feed stations were good with plenty on offer to suit most. More savoury food would have been welcome. The pastie and black rat cider at the end was very welcome.
If the organisers can get the signage sorted this could be a top marks event.

Rated Event: 91.111%


this ride is a friendly organized one. The route is not too taxing and adds to the quaint pleasure of the experience. Sadly signage was the major difference this year that spoilt a lot of effort.
We were directed incorrectly by a marshall so missing a feed station and signs were too infrequent to give assurance you were on course. Another was not paying attention and did not direct me correctly and again I went off course.
Road surfaces were good all backed up with good weather.
The one feed station visited was well stocked. Nice tankard to take home.
Overall a good day out but better signage would make life a lot better.

Rated Event: 93.333%

RonanMulcahy1 wrote:

Excellent sportive a lovely challenge be back next year to do 100 miles

Rated Event: 87.778%

AlanStarling wrote:

Weather was fantastic, the organisers, admin, marshalls up there with the very best, excellent route, fabulous views, great friendly atmosphere together with a couple of climbs that made you dig in.
Rode last year, and will certainly come again next year
Thank you
See you next year

Rated Event: 98.889%

PhilHenley wrote:

have ridden the blackrat 3 times and this is the better route. everything excellent. great organisation and marshalls and feed station helpers etc.
will definately be back for more. there was a bit of congestion at the start probably due to the mass start. many thanks again, Phil

Rated Event: 86.667%

EdBrown wrote:

I think one more feed stop for the 100 miler. Given how hot it was more liquids were needed, i was carrying two bottles but ran out after the climb out of monmouth. also the 2nd feed stop at 50 miles was just bananas, some more sugar and carbs would have been a life send at that point, i had to stop at a petrol station on the way back as way out of all food and water. apart from that a great ride

Rated Event: 70.000%

SimonWeston wrote:

Fantastic weather . For me though the last 10 miles were pretty crappy . Admittedly this was in part to my buddy bailing out the the day before so there was no one to catch a wheel with on the way back through the windy wastelands of avonmouth. More to the point this part of the route was rubbish and just felt like a means to an end given the HQ location. It is always fun crossing the Severn and Clifton is a great view . Avonmouth Bridge however is just noisy and nasty . After the great loop along the Usk valley and going up to the Devauden- Trelleck ridge the last 10 was a real let down . Otherwise a really good blast. Would add that a 100k loop that is actually 66 miles is good value on a hot and windy day ..... Funny because the 100m ride was actually well short of 100m . (ie 149k) Great signage, check in, and a good morning out though. Ps Gave question 5 a '4' only because I didnt see either a bike or a wagon I dont know if they were out or not .

Rated Event: 94.444%

DavidGibson2 wrote:

Great day, big thank you to all of the Black Rat team.

Rated Event: 93.333%

GregJames wrote:

My wife and I take part in a sportive every month and have done for the last couple of years. This was the first time that we have done the Black Rat. It was well organised and friendly. The course was first rate and to cap it all a pasty and a pint of cider to finish with - Cracking!

Rated Event: 100.000%

HarveyGoodall wrote:

This was my first sportive and I was really impressed with the whole event.
Fast response to me email queries.
Friendly people at the start line.
Well mapped out course with marshalls spread out effectively.
Really nice refreshment tent..pastries etc. (Lonodn Marathon take note - pastries at half way go down very well).
Really friendly people.
Nice goodies at finish line.
A commentator who looks up your name at the finishline to make it personal.

I really did enjoy the day.

Rated Event: 92.222%

RussellMeredith wrote:

A very well run event. This years course made a nice change and the majority of the course was very scenic on quiet country roads. All helpers and marshals were extremely friendly and encouraging and the food stops were well stocked. Only slight problems were the toilets been locked on arrival which could have been awkward and the run back from the Severn Bridge was on a busy stretch of road. I note both these issues have been addressed for next year which is great to see as this event has been improving year on year. I had a fantastic day and would like to thank the organisers and helpers who contributed to a great day out. Many thanks. Russ.

Rated Event: 90.000%

JonMaycock wrote:

Really well organised and signage was perfect. Great ride, thanks.

Rated Event: 92.222%


I returned to the Black rat because of the change in route. This was an innovative idea taking in 3 iconic landmarks.
Great weather for it that made it a good day out. The price of the ride is at the lower end of the charges operators and this gives it a good appeal.
Sometimes the road conditions for pothotes etc were not ideal but overall not bad. Sometimes the signage could have been more prominent. The descent to Chepstow had very small ones advising drivers of a cycle event.
Facilities were ok but sadly chaotic with a football event also ( not Black rat's fault) causing problems at the mini roundabout at the start.
No goody bag but a nice tankard with a glass of Somerset's finest was just right after. Also it was nice to be able to shower afterwards too.
Sadly I had to use the mechanics at get a ride back to the finish as I suffered i think because of the aformentioned potholes etc as my tyre exploded 9 miles from home. Still I missed the scenic Avonmouth docks!!!!!
I therefore have unfinished business with the Black Rat so will return next year all being well.
Thanks to all for a great day out.

Rated Event: 92.222%

DavidGuest wrote:

It was a great ride out with great views on the 100 mile version. Not as challenging as in previous Black Rats no very steep hills

Rated Event: 94.444%

JeffWebber wrote:

A really great event, very well organised and well thought out. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to the next event.

Rated Event: 93.333%

KevinGatward wrote:

I had to do the shorter route due to a problem with my knee, which was a shame as my mate reported that it was a very scenic route. The food and drink provided free of further charge at the end of the ride was most welcome. And no goody bag, which I prefer, as I usually ditch most of the contents!

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