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Black Rat Challenge

20/05/2018 - Bristol - Sportive

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

Previous Years Event Ratings

Rated Event: 61.111%


I agree with many of the previous posts. The signage in particular was poor. Signs should be put up in advance of the turn not just on it. Sudden turns by riders in a group can cause crashes. There was one important sign missing too just before Chew Valley lake but I suspect this was sabotage but it just shows that you have to issue route cards. If this was an audax charging £2 then no one could really complain but we pay the cost of sportives to get proper route signage.
Queuing at the start for registration took far too long too. At that time ofthe day it can get too chilly to be standing around waiting.These are very basic things to get right. That said it is not a bad route but some of the road surfaces were terrible and dare I say downright dangerous in places for group riders. Despite all that I still enjoyed the ride. Hopefully you will get a lot better signage next year.

Rated Event: 55.556%

AndrewSmith1 wrote:

Rode the event last year and let down by weather and poor signing (wind +\- people moving them etc. At a key T-junction during event no sign. Myself and others left perplexed and unsure where to go ( studying a 100 mile course on a map before would not necessarily prevent this). Another instance a right turn sign was made difficult with two road options - led me to cycle wrong way (again not just me) and meet oncoming cyclists. Overall, enjoyed course etc but ended up cycling about 110 miles. - missing my gold target time and getting frustrated. At second feedstation no energy drink available - not ideal after 70 miles when previous stop was after only 23 miles. Having travelled from Plymouth I am unlikely to make the effort next year.

Rated Event: 88.889%

AndyRich wrote:

Big improvement on last year

Rated Event: 81.111%

markshalice wrote:

Great route and easy to enter. Signage mostly good with one or two exceptions.
Very enjoyable!!

Rated Event: 92.222%

SarahToms wrote:

Fantastic event... recommend it strongly.

Rated Event: 90.000%

PeterHenley wrote:

Well organised, sign in could have been slicker but overall a great days riding

Rated Event: 88.889%


Having been disappointed with last year's ride I thought long and hard about doing it this year. In the interest of fairness I thought I would give it another go.
The route this year changed to a loop as opposed a figure of 8 and is largely in effect the Bristol Belter (see Sept) in reverse.
Gordano school is being redeveloped that possibly affected the sign-in this year where there was a big queue and the toilet facilities were not brilliant with the men's showers blocked off, sorry ladies we used yours.
Timing this year was much better and with the novelty value of a number to put on the front of your helmet! (Can't wait to see the fashion statement on the photos)
The route was good with one or two rough surfaces and sometimes on roads with too many cars but this is only a minor gripe as a change in the route was forced upon the ride by an event in Axbridge.May be this is why also the route did not quite get to 100kms.
The crew at sign-on were friendly as always and I was glad to get the glass tankard at the finish.
The main problem last year was signage. Much much better this year though as previously mentioned sometimes better warning of a turn would be good. Also that you seemed to ride for long periods without reassurance you were on the right road. When I mentioned this at the end I was told "didn't I spot pink ribbons." No I didn't as I was not advised that these would be out and why pink when the signs are yellow? The web site nevver mentioned it as I religiously read all information (did I miss it) nor at the riders brief at the start.
This ride and event is really good with improvements on last year undoubtedly and for the price of entry, this is well worth the effort. There are other sportives that cost more and you get a better all round package. However as things go this one is friendly, well supported for its entry fee and on a good day like yesterday, gives you a good feeling of a job well done and satisfaction at the finish as you sip a glass of Somerset's finest beverage!!!!!

Well done to all at Black Rat much much better am happy to report!

Rated Event: 94.444%

GarethJones wrote:

A really good ride. Well organised. One missing sign. Signage could have been clearer in places - quite difficult to spot. Will definitely ride again next year

Rated Event: 100.000%

chrismoon wrote:

this was my first ever sportive event,and all i can say is that i really enjoyed it even with a few of the tough hills thrown in, i would do it all again, it was well organised i could not find fault with this event,a big thankyou to all involved in organising this black rat challenge.

Rated Event: 60.000%

SteveGarratt wrote:

This event is not for the faint hearted and was my first attempt at 100miles - some of the sections are amazing, the drop into Wells, the ride through the valleys into Somerset and the descent into the Chedder Groge were real highlights. I think this event would suffer in the rain though, some of the hills are very steep and rugged and why oh why did we need the extra hill at then end when we have already cycled 102miles! But I'm not as hardcore as some of those who probably like that kind of thing. I would probably do it again though.

Rated Event: 100.000%

PhilHenley wrote:

Everything was perfect, excellent organisation, great course, great feed station, freindly & efficient HQ, lovely weather, well done to everyone involved. Many thanks.

Rated Event: 91.111%

WayneLee wrote:

Awesome ride! Thoroughly enjoyed it, well organised, pleasant support crew, the support van trailing the route and handing out energy bars was a great touch. Thanks to all involved who organised it, see you next year!

Rated Event: 76.667%

DerekBrighty wrote:

Overall I found it a very good event. I liked the course (100Km) Not too many hills but enough. Good run in to the finish. The signing in was a bit fraught, not a good idea funneling everbody into the same tent, as it created long queues. I would ride it again.

Rated Event: 94.444%

NadinePilkington wrote:

Lovely scenic route with friendly competitors and marshalls. Would definitely do it again and looking to do the Devon race in September.

Rated Event: 73.333%

bathpaul wrote:

Overall a good event. Some of the signs were slightly obscured so you could not see them until you were already at the turn. I thought the first feed station came a bit too early in to the ride and the second had run out of energy drink (more was on the way apparently) and there was a problem with the water pressure so we had to wait quite a while for the container to be re-filled. I would also have preferred the feed stations to be at the top of the climbs instead of the bottom.

Rated Event: 88.889%

MattBaird wrote:

First ever sportive, really enjoyed it, definitely going to do more.

Rated Event: 92.222%

JamesFulford wrote:

Great ride. Well organised.

Rated Event: 91.111%

AlistairLobban wrote:

This was my first sportive and I had a grate time. The route was a good mix of climbs rolling roads and flat sections. Most sections on main roads we fast or down hill were the extra space was appreciated. Some beautiful scenery and my particular highlight was the decent of cheddar gorge.

Would recommend to anyone and I will be back again next year.

Rated Event: 88.889%

HannahEdwards wrote:

Overall a fantastic event - many thanks to the organisers and great volunteers.
The route was lovely and I'll definitely do it again.
Only suggestion for next time is for a couple more signs on the longer route.
Nothing has ever tasted so delicious as the jaffa cakes at the second feed station.

Rated Event: 96.667%

AndrewTownhill wrote:

Great ride, lovely scenery and everyone was helpful and had a smile, could have had a few more toilets and signing in took a while but those things are very menial. Overall great day, great venue & great team. Thanks to all at black rat :-)

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