i finished it total time 7/29/10 riding time 6/27/19
felt ok after though my knee hurts and the bike needs new brakes, wore out the back with about 36mile to go.
on the freshly graveled hill i kept getting stones between the back wheel and seat stay jamming the wheel
My first sportive (having done a handful of audax events). For someone who can't be arsed (possibly incapable!) to self-navigate it was great to have signage at every junction.
I found this tough! Elapsed time was 7/30/00 and my only excuse was that me and some other chap tended to a cyclist who wiped himself out (courtesy of a pot hole) on a fast descent (in excess of 35mph) after the Bream feedstation. Unfortunately his bike was unrideable and he needed stitches so we waited for the motocyclist to arrive. I guess we both lost about 15 minutes. Also with all the lying water and rain at the start, the wax lube on my chain must have completely washed off as by around the half-way point my chain started to creak and click so loudly. In the end I stopped twice to lube the chain with energy gels (I knew they'd come in handy at some point!!!!)
Low points -
(i) having a standard double crank - recommend a triple or compact;
(ii) gravel on the descents - that's why bibshorts have elasticated legbands;
(iii) peeling said cyclist off the tarmac - it really shakes you up when you see how easy it was to get the front wheel stuck in a rut at high speed;
(iv) the hills in between the climbs (the difference?? - one has arbitrarily been given a number?).
(i) thanks to energy gels, I never had to actually dismount and push;
(ii) hitherto unmentioned knee injury didn't get worse - in fact it's much better!! (breaking news - 25% hills cures fatboy's left knee ligament damage!);
(iii) the organisation (including the superb coffee at the start/finish tent);
(iv)..and of course the camaraderie (esp. the riders from Swansea who are doing the dragon who were a great encouragement on the last two climbs).
Blackrat Challenge thro the mendips then the DRAGON!!!
Hopefully as the Dragon looms ever more closer there will some advice flying around for us novices from those that have done it before?
PS: Glad to hear your knee is recovering quickly - clearly no real damage done - just a bit more grief that it was normally used to!
PPS: One of the Swansea posse said the Dragon was not as hard as the Spring Classic on Sunday - albeit longer (and thus probably will requires greater reserves of stamina) but the climbs are more drawn out and not as overtly deadly as the 25%ers in the Forest.
This might be crap - but I draw some comfort from it!