Tag Archives: Wiggle

Wiggle New Forest 100 Sportive

19 Sep
Whilst on the Isles of Scilly, I noticed a post on a Breeze facebook group looking for a ride leader with a first aid certificate to support a 4 day charity bike ride from Ulverston to London (about 360 miles/580km). ‘How convenient that I’ve just completed my first aid certificate’, I thought. It was only after I completed the Scilly Swim Challenge that I realised I had under 3 weeks to train for an event that would be tough. Oops.

I heard that a sportive was taking place on Saturday and that volunteers were required, so I agreed to help with registration in exchange for a free place. I arrived at Matchams at 6:40am, ready for registration to open at 6:45am. There were three events taking place: short (around 40 miles); standard (62 miles); epic (100 miles). It was interesting to see the range of riders and their bikes – several people with rucksacks on old mountain bikes were doing the epic. It was also great to see lots of dads out witheir young sons doing the short route… but I didn’t see a single young girl in registration, which seems rather sad.

When I’d got up at 5:15am, it was cold and misty, so I decided that it would be a good opportunity to try out the thermal tights and matching jersey that I bought last winter. This seemed like a good idea as I was cold on my last cycling excursion. At 9:45am, I was released from registration and I realised that I had made a mistake – it was really hot – oops!

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The majority of the riders had started significantly earlier, but for the first part of the ride, there were still a few cyclists around. However, when I reached the split in the route, I started to wonder whether it would be a lonely ride.

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I discovered quite a crowd of riders at the first aid station (40k), so I decided not to dally too long in the hope of having a bit of company on the next section. It was indeed a busy section, but I was surprised when we came to the second aid station at only 60k. I turned off the main road, realised that I had only turned off for an aid station and got straight back out again.

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By this stage, I felt like I was melting – I’d already drunk two full bottles and was seriously considering removing my jersey – so I was grateful when we got to a shady section.

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I had hoped to finish in a good time, but the heat was too much for me, so I decided just to aim for a ‘gold’ time, which I thought would be 4:15. After the clock ticked past that, I thought I’d aim for <4:30, which I managed… however, I was frustrated to find out that the ‘gold’ time for women was 4:24 and I just missed it.

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Overall, it was a good event, and I hoped it would stand me in good stead for the next week’s adventures.


Best bike ride ever!

16 Apr

After all of my training recently, my lovely husband bought me a beautiful bouquet of Oriental lilies, which are my favourite flowers.

The flowers that my wonderful husband bought for me.

The flowers that my wonderful husband bought for me.

On Saturday morning, I decided to go swimming instead of running. I’ve only been swimming with the Tri Club on a Saturday morning once before. That was a session during the Christmas break, so it was not necessarily the usual mix of people and Darryl gave me quite a lot of attention as I was clearly a different ability from everyone else who was there. As the swimming pool isn’t far from my house, I decided to cycle there, which was a nice start to the day.

I think the turn out on Saturday was probably the usual mix of people. The first thing I noticed was that the ability level was much higher than the usual Lane 1 crew from Monday evenings. We had to count our strokes per length for 400m. I didn’t manage to keep this even for the 16 lengths, but it fluctuated between 21 and 26 for the section that I was counting. I think that when I’m not focussing on reaching at the end of each stroke then I don’t make as much effort as I should.

We then moved onto my favourite part of the session: 200m of kicking. I like kicking as I don’t need to worry about breathing or what my arms are doing. I started as the last person in lane 1, but by the end of the 200m, I had passed all but one person. Unfortunately, we also had to do some backstroke and I failed to keep in a straight line, veering up into the wrong side of the lane, which made one of the ladies in the lane very angry – oops!

New swimming PB

After swimming, Liz and I collected our bikes and walked to Boulangerie Victor Hugo, a new French bakery, with Sonia and Suzanne. Stuart and Katherine had been to parkrun so they were already there waiting for us. The breakfast deal there is very good: half a demi baguette, a croissant, butter, jam and a hot chocolate for under £5.

After breakfast, we set off on our bikes for a bike shop, as I’ve broken the bell on my hybrid bike and wanted a replacement part. unfortunately, the shop didn’t have a replacement part in, but they fitted a replacement bell for me – thank you CycleWorld! We then set off on a scenic ride home. Katherine and Stu both had road bikes, whereas I had a heavy bike with full panniers, so we didn’t go too fast… and all three of us were wearing jeans. We ended up cycling about 10 miles.

In the afternoon, I decided to try out a ‘recipe’ that my cousin’s partner Lauren had shared on Facebook. I say ‘recipe’ as it’s a pizza base made of just two ingredients: Greek yoghurt and self-raising flour. I had two different pots of 0% fat Greek yoghurt in my fridge and a bag of plain flour, but I decided to give it a go anyway. I mixed the yoghurt with flour and added some baking powder. Of the two yoghurts that I tried, it was easier to make the dough using the Fage yoghurt, but the Tesco yoghurt dough was wetter and actually came out better. I also made my own tomato sauce for the pizzas. I don’t think they turned out too badly!

My homemade pizza

My homemade pizza (Fage yoghurt dough)

Stuart's homemade pizza

Stuart’s homemade pizza (Tesco yoghurt dough)

On Sunday morning, we got up early to go to the Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive. 2000 riders take part in this two-day event. There is a choice of two routes: 62 miles or 84 miles. We chose the 62 mile option as I’ve only cycled 100km once and haven’t been on my bike much this year.

When we arrived, we had to register with our helmets. We were given time chips on our helmets as well as a High-5 bottle filled with gels and energy drinks.

My number

There had been quite a lot of traffic getting to the start, so the first riders were leaving the site as we arrived.

Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive 2014

My only other experience of a sportive type event was the Garmin Sharp Ride Out last year, which was a much smaller scale event. I was amazed by just how many riders were here and was also hugely relieved to notice that there were plenty of women who were taking part. I also had time to look around at other people’s bikes – there were plenty of mountain bikes and hybrids, as well as some top-end road bikes.

The weather conditions were perfect – it was quite warm and sunny with very little breeze. I set off fairly quickly and decided to see how long I was able to maintain that pace. I’ve not really fiddled with the settings on my Garmin, so it measures my cycling in 5 mile laps – I did the first lap in a pace of 27.4 kmph, which is a lot faster than I’ve ever managed before and I wondered how long I would be able to maintain that sort of pace. My best previous pace was 21.1kmph (although I have managed an hour at 25.5kmph on a turbo trainer). I kept going and really enjoyed being able to pass a few people. We had to stop for a short while when we got to Burley as there was a Palm Sunday procession to church, which was fine, although it meant that I had very little momentum to climb the hill out of the town!

I knew that a ‘cake stop’ was planned at the half way point. I had tried to drink whilst cycling, but I’m not very coordinated and am still a bit nervous that I might crash, so I hadn’t drunk very much. At 50km, I really started to look forward to a break, but I was pleased that we hit that distance in 1:59.

It wasn’t long before we got to the rest stop. After finding a bike rack where we could park our bikes, we joined the queue for sampling the goodies: flapjack, oreos, Tuck biscuits, jelly beans, pistachios etc Stuart was very helpful – he retrieved my drink bottle from my bike and also held his hand out to catch my pistachio shells!

Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive 2014


Although there were bike racks, there just wasn’t enough room for everyone’s bikes. Bikes were leaning against fences and walls as well as being placed in ditches!

Cyclists arriving at the rest stop

Cyclists arriving at the rest stop

I enjoyed people-watching. There were lots of interesting jerseys and bikes.

The stampede for flapjack

The stampede for flapjack

We had passed lots of ponies, donkeys, cows and pigs and there were even a few New Forest ponies at the rest stop.

Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive 2014

After I’d eaten a bit and had a drink, I felt better and was ready to tackle the final section. I wanted to maintain the pace that I had set, but it was a long uphill drag for several miles. After we got to 75km, it was downhill or flat all of the way back. There were a couple of scary moments, including when a man stopped dead in front of me as one of his friends had dropped something, but I felt more confident than I have done before. I kept pushing as I wanted a good average pace overall, and was really surprised to find that people were slowing down in the last 10km… but it was nice to pass them. Stuart had stayed with me for the whole day, but when we got to the entrance of the event site, Stuart sprinted off. It was a reasonable slope, so I just continued at a steady pace.

Finally, we crossed the line, and I was surprised that we were interviewed by a member of the event crew. I don’t think I really said very much, so Stu and I didn’t end up on the video, but our photo was one of 50 that appear on the main website:

Wiggle screen shot

Finishing Wiggle Ride

Finished! Being interviewed at the end…

We were then given medals and t-shirts.

Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive 2014

I stopped my Garmin at the rest stop, but not for the Palm Sunday parade, so my cycling time was 4:08, however, this is not my start to finish chip time.

Garmin data for Wiggle Sportive

Wow – they’re impressive stats for me 🙂

My official time was 4:41:04.

Tamsyn Smith Certificate


I’m a little frustrated that we stopped for over half an hour at the rest stop… if I’d finished in <4:16 then I would have been a gold finisher!


Finish pose with bike

Yay! I did it 😀

Happy pose with medal

Happy pose with medal

I really enjoyed this event and am now feeling slightly less stressed about cycling in the Pyrenees, although when I see those mountains, the panic will probably resurface!!!

There were some nice photos taken of Stuart and I during this event, so we’ve ordered some – I’ll upload them here when they arrive 🙂

Finishers' t-shirt and medal

Finishers’ t-shirt and medal

The finisher t-shirt is quite attractive, and as it’s a technical top, I will probably wear it.

After the event, we decided not to hang around for hot drinks, but instead we headed to Ringwood to get lunch and some hot drinks:

Post-event hot chocolate

Post-event hot chocolate

What a great day! 😀