Here is the blog written by one of magnificent female rides who took on two Rough Challenge Sportive’s over one weekend. These girls are made of steel to take on this sort of challenge.
Last weekend saw us take on a couple of rough challenge sportive’s.
Saturday Heidi and I (Karen) ventured out to take part in the Run & Ride Rough Ride Gravel Challenge 2020 this was a 40 miler. We started in Milford and within the first five minutes found ourselves in thick mud on a single canal track, leaning very heavily into the edges as the alternative was the canal.
The course was on undulating mixed terrain including roads, fire-roads and canal towpaths. It was over Cannock Chase and surrounding areas of Staffordshire and Shropshire.
Heidi was on her crossa bike and me on my gravel bike for the first time.
We encountered a very angry Bull that had escaped from his field and ventured onto the track he was agitated and did not want to let us pass but eventually he moved and we rode on. It was a wet and windy day which made the challenge a tad harder. At one point we were in the deep of the forest on a sort of path through the trees thinking the garmin had put us on the wrong track but no we were where we should have been.
We finished on the Sherbrooke trail on the Chase riding over lots of loose slippy wet stones which was a challenge in itself. Great ride and scenery but the hardest ride we had encountered to date and certainly not one for the light hearted.
Sunday took Pete and Karen to Falling Leaves Rough Challenge in Oakamoor, Staffordshire Moorlands. There was a choice of 2 courses 75k or 42k, they both opted for the 42k. Again this was an undulating course with mixed terrain. We started on a hill, found ourselves in a muddy grassed farmers fields of course going up hill, we encountered single tracks which were muddy with lots of tree roots and rather large stones almost impossible to ride over. The hill to the finish seemed never ending it was a steep gradient of 10%. This was by far the hardest ride we have ever done. We were so proud to finish as looking at the hills, mud and grass I didn’t know whether to laugh it cry. At the end of every hill my heart was pounding and I was found to be slumped over the handlebars. One definitely worth a go next year.
For anyone looking at taking up cycling and thinking "what do you get out of it"? Well your answer is above, you get a lot of pride and satisfaction from it. You also get pain and suffering, but all this is negated by the sense of acheivement you walk away with after competing.
Chapeau to the mud larks.