Virgin Money Cyclone Challenge 2013: Cyclo-Sportive Review
Virgin Money Cyclone Challenge
Distances: 104, 66 or 33 miles
Best bit: almost traffic-free route
Worst bit: poor road surfaces in places
Number of starters: 3,500
The Cyclone is actually a series of cycling events which take place in and around Newcastle over four days at the end of June.
The challenge ride takes place on the Saturday with a choice of 33, 63 or 104-mile routes all of which start and finish at Newcastle Falcons' stadium. With over 3,500 riders taking part this year, the roads out into the countryside are full of riders from 8am onwards.
This year's ride took place in blustery conditions under mainly blue skies through wonderful scenery and near-deserted lanes. The 104-mile loop takes you on an undulating course which is peppered with challenging but mercifully brief climbs.
The four feed stations are backed up with a range of other options from village pubs and unofficial stops which pop up on the route.
The most challenging part of the ride comes in the shape of the steep double-ramp climb up to the village of Ryal. The climb features on both the longer routes and is a stiff test for those who already have 80 miles in their legs. The mobile ice cream cart at the summit provides additional encouragement for those who are starting to struggle.
Following this climb there is a fast and endless descent back to base to pick up the goody bag.
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Get to know the area with regular rides from bike cafe The Hub in Newcastle www.thecyclehub.org/rides or with Gosforth Road Club www.gosforthroadclub.com. Cost: £25
This article was first published in the August 29 issue of Cycling Weekly. Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release where ever you are in the world International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!