Torq RoughRide Race (Swim?!) Report

What can I say…the Torq Roughride was wet…very very very wet.  I should have known the great spring weather wouldn’t last…after all, they announced that parts of the UK were suffering from a drought on Friday….lo and behold, 2 days later, we had 30mm of rain in 18 hours.

I got woken at 5am on Sunday morning by the rain – I tried to convince myself it always sounds worse when you’re tucked up in bed, but one glance out of the window soon disproved that!   Even the drive up to Kington was exciting, with rivers of water across all the roads, and a bit of sideways rally-cross action in the car just getting into the field for parking!   As Mark and I headed up to the start, dressed in full waterproof gear (including winter boots), I was stunned to a pair of riders at the start in nothing more than football shorts and cotton t-shirts…and it wasn’t like it was nice warm summer rain…it was cold – only 7c!!   I gather 30 people were treated for exposure during the event…I wonder if these people were 2 of them?!

Waiting to start..wanting to go home..perfect UK biking conditions?

The thing about biking is, it doesn’t matter how waterproof you’re gear is…it doesn’t work in torrential rain.  Water seeps down your neck, under the cuffs of the sleeves, sprays up underneath…and no breathable fabric can cope with the heat you generate slogging up hills.  In short, you get wet.  And once you get wet, you start to get cold.

It really wasn’t much of decision to do the short route (43 instead of 75km)..we were barely managing 10km/hr, and it was almost constant effort…you had to pedal downhill, pushing aside a bow-wave (tyre-wave??) of water as you went…and I didn’t need to re-live TransRockies 09!!  I must admit, I was even tempted to try and find a shortcut back along the road when I got to the bottom of Hergest Ridge, about 8km from home…I was freezing after the long road downhill, and really didn’t fancy that slog up..and up….and up…….and up.   The thought of getting lost trying to find our way back put us off, and we did the climb (followed by the only decent downhill all day) and finished in exactly 4 hours.  My stuff is still drying out as I write!

I think Mark and I made 3 good decisions this weekend:

  1. We decided not to camp…good call, in pissing rain, in a sloping sheep field complete with a lot of sheep poo!
  2. Cutting the ride short…had we done the long route, it would have taken us 7-8 hours.
  3. We agreed that we’re never doing the RoughRide again.  This was our second, and I’ve concluded that the route planning is done by Mr Penrose, of the endless stairs fame*.

    RoughRide Route Profile??

    Clearly this year wasn’t helped by the weather, but the route just doesn’t seem to work..you don’t get any reward for the endless climbing.  I’ve done other events in this area – the CRC Builth Wells MTB Marathon for example – and that manages to get in some great downhills.   Each to their own…I know some people enjoy it.

Huge thanks to the marshalls out there yesterday though…standing around in the rain for 7-8 hours must have been horrible..at least we had exercise to keep us warm!!

* I’ve learnt something doing this blog…I thought the endless stairs was by Escher, but apparently it’s by Lionel and Roger Penrose and then adapted by Escher for his etching Ascending and Descending.  So there.

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