Cyclo-sportive: AMR Outdoors Show
Birmingham, Warwickshire, March 28
The Action Medical Research sportive season kicked off at the NEC in Birmingham with two distances this year. Known for putting on fantastic 100-mile events, the organisers have added a 100-kilometre option to its events.
Both courses left the show in fine but breezy weather, just enough to wake us up after the hour we had lost as we headed into British Summer Time.
Both routes led out through the Warwickshire countryside and dipped into the Cotswolds. The organisers had chosen good-quality country lanes that were not pocked with the damage many other roads have had this winter. Enjoying not having to bunny-hop potholes, we all could look out at the Shakespearean countryside.
The longer route took in the notorious climb of Saintbury Hill and Snowshill. This was where less well prepared riders really started draining their energy banks. Luckily AMR rides are known for their feed stops and are ready for hunger-driven cyclists.
Only one routing mishap occurred when a horse thought a sign looked tastier than the frozen grass and nibbled one down at a crucial fork junction. Motorcycle marshals sorted it promptly.
Still having the legs after the ride and all the food at the lunch feed station, riders were given free entry to the Outdoors Show, leading to many more trips and adventures being planned. I hope it wasn't all the adrenaline.
Sportive Sound Bites
Catherine Raine (26)
"AS a newcomer to distance cycling this event was just perfect. Some of the climbs were tough but now that know that I can do it, I can't wait for the next one."
John Collinson (23)
"IT was the best cycling event I could have wished for. I lost count of the amount of people who made comments on how good the event was."
Distance - 100 miles or 100km
Climbing - 1,317m
Major climbs - Two
Terrain - Rolling
Participants - 201
First finisher - 5hr59/9hr42
Last finisher - 6hr14/7hr32
Best - Lunch
Worst - The clocks going forward!