Are you ready for a rant? Because you’re sure as eggs gonna get one…
We arrived at the queue for the car park at 7:15am, on schedule for a c. 8.00am start as planned. And so it begins…
- It took about 45 minutes to get into the car park and parked.
- I then had to queue for 20+ minutes to use one of the 4 toilet paper free portable loos. (for 4000 riders…)
- We got to the massive queue for the start at 8:36am.
- And we did not get going until 9:45am. That’s 2 1/2 hours all in all. Un bl**dy believable.
Oh, but it gets worse.
They’ve changed the route. Yes the new seaside bit is very pretty, and the route is relatively flat for the first 1 1/2 hours or so, which is good for running in the legs. But there really aren’t any hills until you get to the big one, and as a result it just wasn’t half as scenic as previously. Lots of nothingy towns, a bit too much traffic, and not much to look at. I found myself looking forward to the big climb – the Bwlch. Having been up it before I was prepared for it, and I did a storming job going up it. I was really pleased with myself – I proper powered up it, and even left GB behind. I even had a chat to Howie from Cyclosport who I met on the way up. So I got to the 2nd foodstop just past the top with a grin on my face, despite the rain which was starting, and GB arrived shortly afterwards. I queued for the one loo, and in the meantime a yellow Mavic support car went past which, now we look back on it, must have been the broom wagon because…
…when we got on our way and to the route split just down the road we were told it was closed! Take the Medio Fondo route, or if you insist on taking the Gran Fondo, hand in your number, oh and by the way they’ll be taking the signs down. Apparently 1.30pm was cut off, so we must just have missed it – thus adding insult to injury. So we took the shorter route rather than risk it leaving us around 20 miles to do if that, and descended the hill in the by now pouring rain. My 200km ride had turned into a 120km one that wasn’t even that hilly.
I was, and am, absolutely furious, as well as very disappointed. I had presumed that due to the disastrous start that any cut-off times would be adjusted accordingly. More fool me hey? I have NEVER been cut off, or swept up by the Broom Wagon, and I’ve now done 25+ sportives. As you’ll see, my average speed today was much faster than usual, so it’s not like I was even being a slow rider.
So, fueled by anger and indignation, having vented somewhat, and with around 12 miles to go, I decided I would see how fast I could get to the end. And I flew home! I totally kicked ar*e. GB followed suit, and we had quite a posse flying along behind us. At speed! Anger is good ;). Oh, and my new wheels – I think I’m going to divorce hubby and marry them *grin*. They are just amazing. Faster, more responsive, the tyres are grippier…
Thus we arrived back at the start, complete with amusing sprint finish, but I’m fairly sure my timing chip wasn’t working – no beep, although by then I was past caring.
We parked up by, as it turns out, Ride HQ, so I thought I might as well do the organisers the courtesy of making my feelings known in person. And was essentially told that well, they’d had more riders than ever before, we should have been there earlier, and that’s just the way it goes… Not so much as an apology. *speechless*.
Well if that’s the case, then they manifestly can’t cope with that number of riders! I have done the Dragon 3 times now, and I will NEVER be doing it again. Nor would I recommend it to anyone else. It is the only ride I have ever had to queue in such a way to start for. And apparently not getting to the cut off point in time is MY fault?!! The route used to make up for the event’s shortcomings but I don’t think that’s even true now.
I’d have hung around for a coffee – but there was a queue…
Cycling time: 4:16:52 hrs
Distance: 71.09 miles
Avs: 16.5 mph
ODO: 8766 miles
If you want positives, and they are few and far between today – I give you my ascent of the Bwlch, my descents, and my sprint at the end. None of which have anything to do with the organisers. The Wiggle Dragon Ride recently attained UCI Golden Bike World Series status for 2012 – and I think it should be taken off them pronto! I’d like my £32.00 back please, since I sure as eggs didn’t get what I paid for.
If you’d like a list of vocabulary I would like to use, today’s entry is brought to you by the words “fiasco, shambles, farcical”. Hubby reckons I should sign this Apoplectic of Axbridge…and he’s probably not far wrong…*grrrr*.
PS: Regardless of how long I had to queue, the timings should mean that travelling at a reasonable average speed you should be able to start at the latest time allowed and make the split before the cutoff time… Today I was going faster than I have at the last two Dragons, and it’s never been a problem before. Missing the cutoff is why I’m quite so mad…