Ride Report: New Forest 200

Autumn can be one of the best seasons to ride in; changing colours and interesting conditions. Yesterday was certainly interesting.

I decided that having let a number of my 2014 Objectives slip away from me, it was time to knock off at least one more, and complete a double imperial century (200 miles). If I was sensible I would have done this in the middle of summer, with a long summer day... unfortunately, those are now long past though, so I decided it had to be an Autumn Epic Adventure.

The plan was simple: ride to the Yarmouth-Lymington ferry, meet up with the Wightlink Race Team boys, head over to the start of the Wiggle New Forest 100 near Ringwood, complete the 'epic' sportive with them and ride home, probably with an extra loop to bring the miles up.

The reality, was that the weather made it far from simple.

In order to get to get to the start on time, I would need to be up at 04:30, out the door by 05:00 and in Yarmouth by 06:00. When my alarm went off though, I was greeted by far more than just a shrill tone; thunder, lightning and a torrential downpour provided a nice opening backdrop. The changeable autumn forecast had been right.

Sunshine at the finish
In fact, when I left home at 05:00 the rain had abated, but that didn't last long; as I rode towards the lightning storm the heavens opened about 20 minutes in. It wasn't long before my GripGrab overshoes were breached, and I was extremely grateful to have a good quality team-issue dhb waterproof.

I arrived at the ferry a "little damp", and met up with the boys. Time for a coffee to warm up a bit.

Once on the mainland things started to improve; the sun was coming up and the rain was holding off for the most part, time to get cracking.

The sportive itself all blurs into a bit of a haze to be honest. Frequent downpours increasingly broken up by spells of sunshine as the day went on, gorging out at the feed stations and having plenty of laughs with the lads. The wind and rain made riding a lot more difficult than a century ride in the summer months, but the New Forest is flat, very flat compared to the Isle of Wight, and I was grateful for the fact that we could spin along quite happily in our group.

Military Road sunset
The sun was out by the finish of the sportive, and a tailwind back to the ferry was a very welcome addition.

The ferry journey back to the island was a mix of emotions. I really felt proud and pleased for the Wightlink lads; this was the longest ride any of them had ever done, and they had been seriously impressive, even more so given the weather conditions. I was really pleased for them, just slightly apprehensive about the fact that I still needed to do another two hours of riding to make my mileage up.

It was still light when I rolled off the boat at 17:45, and I enjoyed the sunset as I turned onto the Military Road with a tailwind behind.

A few miles down the Mili, and Jimbo caught me up in his van, he lent a welcome helping hand and motor-paced me down the rest of the road. Nothing like a quick threshold session after 170 miles of riding!

As James turned off, I was on my own, and it was lights on and head down for the last 20 miles.

I finally rolled back into the driveway at 19:45. Mission complete. One EPIC day in the saddle.
Kit Prep
A bit damp for the ferry crossing
Temporary wash-off tan
Temporary wash-off tan lines
A great day in the saddle with friends


  1. I am proud to say I rode with you yesterday Tim. I was chuffed to do 140 miles but you must be mega proud to do 200! In those conditions that's an amazing achievement.

  2. Thanks Marti! :-) I was really proud of you yesterday mate, you've come such a massive way in the last year and having the strength to ride in conditions like we had yesterday, for that long, is awesome. Congrats on a great season :-)


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