I’ve done a couple of non-race-races recently, first was a sportive around Devil’s Punchbowl in Surrey. Well it was named the Devil’s Punchbowl but it didn’t actually go past any of the view points of the geological feature and so on finishing the ride I did feel slightly robbed! Next up was Bath Hilly Half marathon which was a trail run in and around Landsdown racecourse which was STUNNING in terms of the scenery and pretty brutal in terms of the gradients!
So first off, the sportive. For those of you who aren’t aware, sportives are organised rides, signposting and feedstations are provided and generally speaking they are timed events. However they are STRICTLY not a race… apparently! There are pre-published target times for *awards* (of the pat on the back / self congratulation / certificate variety) which you can aim for but no placings in terms of 1st, 2nd or 3rd place. Generally speaking they are open to anyone who cares to enter and a great way to cycle a route or area that you’ve not been to before. I’m all for someone else doing the route setting! I met Simon (from my local Berkshire tri-squad) at the registration and we set off down the road. Not gone 200m when I dropped my tyre levers out of my saddle bag and they disappeared into the piles of leaves at the side of the road… never to be seen again. Darn. So now I was relying on Simon for technical assistance! Simon and I trundled around the course, which was sneakily hilly but we averaged a steady 19mph by the end. We were also able to congratulate ourselves and achieving a *gold* award for the 70mi route. Well done us 🙂
Last weekend I headed up the M4 for the first ever Bath Hilly Half which was on gorgeous footpaths & trails around Landsdown Racecourse.
I clocked 788m of accent & 788m of decent (relief to finish where I’d started…) and while the *going was good to soft* as the race progressed the trails dried out a bit…… which was nice.
I came home first lady in 1h45 and 6th place overall (winning chap clocked 1h36)
I can thoroughly recommend this race if:
a) you like scenic courses
b) you like hilly courses
c) you don’t mind stiles and gates as obstacles on the course
d) you don’t mind a bit of mud
e) you aren’t too bothered by the PB every now and again
f) you don’t expect gels and energy drink on (any of) the feed-stations
g) you don’t mind if the marshals don’t know the course very well and send you on a 1.5km (scenic) detour over 3 more stiles and another 2 gates
h) you like a bottle of Stella when you finish a run (seriously, there was Stella, Jaffa cakes, water, carrots & jelly babies…. slightly curious I thought, but maybe that’s just me…)
My view is that it is running, it’s all running at the end of the day & I loved it. Sunday well spent.