I've visited the New Forest a few times before, staying in the Youth Hostel at Burley and doing a bit of hiking. I was looking forwards to seeing some other parts of the National Park and getting some serious miles behind me. There's lot of other things to do too, so we decided to make it a family weekend and booked a local B&B. Alison at the Far Side made us very welcome and the location was perfect.
|A soggy ride indeed|
The RideOn Saturday morning I ate a hearty breakfast, got into my gear, gave the wife and daughter a kiss, and set off for the event. It seemed pretty well organised at the start, but at registration they were giving away High-5 water bottles filled with product samples - what am I supposed to do with that? My bottle cage and jersey pockets are already full! I said I'd pick one up later after I had finished, but was unable to. The signs out on the road were great, as were the food stops and marshalling.
The first hour or so was lovely with the forecasted rain holding off, but eventually the inevitable happened and the last four and a half hours were spend in the wet. The route was good, with some nice contrasting heathland and forest scenery, in particular the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive was beautiful. Despite the wet and the many cattle grids I remained puncture free until the very end, managing to limp over the finish line with a completely flat front which I think I got riding over the cattle grid into the event area.
My only complaint is that UK Cycling Events seem to have messed up my results. My GPS upload to Strava puts my time at 5h 30 mins, but the official results put my time over 6 hours, has the wrong distance and the wrong rider number.
There are lots of other things to do in the New Forest if you're not on the bike, and I'd recommend the New Forest Wildlife Park as a family activity.