If you ask most members of the RLCSS what their favourite sportive is, the answer is usually the Rawlinson Bracket;
I was very intrigued, as being relatively new to sportives and had never done this ride before. I persuaded Flo and Andy, a couple of our Sunday Cake riders, to join me. I was slightly concerned that they might not speak to me again after this.
There were two routes to choose from; The Bottom Bracket (which is a 55km ride with gentle climbing around the local roads of Warwickshire) or Top Bracket (which is for the more foolhardy cyclist).
They each involve 6 of the bumper parts of Warwickshire:
Edge Hill (Knowle Hill)
Lady Elizabeth Hill
In Total 93km in length with over 3,469ft of Elevation Gain.
The ride is held to raise money for Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS) in honour of Nick, a local cyclist born and bred in Kenilworth who worked at JLR.
The ride took part on Saturday the 9 of April, cold start to the day upon cycling to the beginning I was regretting my choice of fingerless gloves.
Upon arriving at Harbury Rugby club, I was pleased to see some familiar signs in the shape of RLCSS flags and Gazebo, the other sight gave me a slight glow was seeing so many people in RLSCC colours.
Very well-supported, I kept bumping in to so many RLSCC Friends.
The first RLSCC group started, and the rest of the use gathered for a quick photo.
Upon gathering at the start, we were given a quick briefing and a reminder that we were all representing the cyclists of Warwickshire and not to provide angry car drivers with the usual hand gestures.
We started off at a fast pace up till Burton Dasset; this separated the Mathieu Van Der Poel from the steadier riders.
The pack slowly but surely separated, leaving four of us behind to continue. The ride was not being measured in the distance but climbs. Steadying counting our way down through the hills next was Shotteswell, which was a steady but sure plod, at least the weather had broken and was starting to fell a bit warmer.
Everyone was chatting and laughing, but you could tell in the back of everyone's mind was Edge Hill next. Being listed in the top 100 hills in the UK, we all knew it would be one hell of a bump with a significant effort.
We came around the corner, and there was the wall called Edge Hill. Steadily but surely, we all started to climb the beast. We all split up and agreed to meet at the top. It's always slightly disheartening to be overtaken halfway up Edge Hill by another cyclist until you realize it's an E-bike. It's then you might mutter something under your breath.
We rejoined at the top and waited for our heart rates to calm down to a recognizable speed, at least something that did not sound like a full-speed woodpecker. In my mind, that was halfway, as it was hill number three.
Later we found out that Andy Flint chain came off halfway up Edge Hill, which must be the worst punishment a cyclist could be rewarded with.
After a short ride, we found the must needed fuel station for a rest and a chat and quickly carrying on to climb number 4.
Winderton Hill – a picturesque climb through the Cotswold hamlet with great scenery.
We were now starting to break the back of the day with
Climb 5 Lady Elizabeth Hill was starting to test the legs and rob them of any remaining energy.
Everyone started to tuck into the food and energy gels, not sure if this was signs of wear and tear or riders getting ready for Sunrising Hill being the next climb.
As we approached the final hill, you could see a more determined look on everyone's faces. However, it's not as gruelling as Edge, but the worst hill is the one you're currently climbing.
The pack got split up by traffic as even the cars were struggling to get up this monster, its more technical due to the switchback halfway up. Finally, getting to the top, where everyone was waiting, I was disappointed not to see there was no Defibrillator at this point; I needed one.
As any cyclist will tell you, the best bit about the hill is the descent, and coming down Edge Hill did not disappoint. With only 15 miles left, everyone started to pick the pace up through Kineton. It wasn't until Gaydon that everyone began to show signs of the days' onslaught.
We then finally reached Harbury Rugby Club for coffee and Cake.
Although it was a hilly day, it was great fun and well organised and as always when riding with the RLSCC, great company. I want to say thank you to the organiser and a special thank you to Flo, Joe and Martin for pulling me around.