LESS THAN ONE WEEK LEFT TO ENTER THE BLACK RAT CHALLENGE IN BRISTOL!
We will advise everyone of their rider number on Wednesday 15th by e-mail.
Please take a read of these briefing notes for The Bristol event on Sunday 19th May. This is especially important if you enter the event after Sunday 12th May as you will not receive these instructions by e-mail.
1. Signing on. Saturday 18th May.
Anyone who has entered the ride will be able to come along to Gordano School (directions below) and complete the signing on procedure on Saturday 18th May. You will be able to sign on between 12:00 and 3:00pm. We encourage any local riders to come along on Saturday if possible so that queuing time on Sunday morning will be kept to a minimum. On Saturday, signing on will be held in one of the marquees near the school entrance.
2. Arriving at Gordano School on Sunday 19th May
Sat Nav: BS20 7QR
From Bristol: Take the A369 from Cumberland Basin and follow for 5 miles to Portishead. At the M5 J19 roundabout, take the second exit following signs to Portishead. At the first roundabout on the Portbury Hundred, take the first exit towards Clevedon and travel for approx. half a mile until you reach the next roundabout. Go over this roundabout to the next mini roundabout and you will see Gordano School to your right.
From M5 J19: take the appropriate (depending on whether you are coming from North or South) exit from the roundabout, following signs to Portishead. At the first roundabout on the Portbury Hundred, take the first exit towards Clevedon and travel for approx. half a mile until you reach the next roundabout. Go over this roundabout to the next mini roundabout and you will see Gordano School to your right.
The school grounds will be open from 7.00am. Please do not arrive before then as the small entrance road will become blocked meaning no-one can gain access to let us in!
When you arrive at the school, you will be directed by marshals to the area where you can park your car.
After parking your car, you will need to sign on. Signing on will not open until 7.30am. The signing on area will be well signposted from the car park. This year, we have decided to put the signing on area inside the sports centre gym so that if you have to queue for a short time, it will at least be indoors. You will be informed of your entry number prior to the event and lists will be posted in the signing on room. Entry packs will be numbered so go to the desk which contains your number and collect your entry pack. In this pack you will find a signing on form which MUST be completed in order for your insurance to be valid, your timing chip, rider number and zip ties plus some energy products. Once you have signed the entry form, you can put your number on your bike and get ready to start the ride. Your rider number will have two emergency numbers printed on the back.
You may make use of sports centre changing rooms before and after the ride. Showers will be available in both the male and female changing rooms. Please be aware that the changing rooms are not designed for 400 people to use at one time so you may have to wait a short while before using them.
Tea and coffee will be available free of charge from the marquee near the start area.
3. The Ride
The first riders will leave the school at 8.30am. We try to encourage 100 mile riders to be first away as they will be out for longer. The last riders will leave the school no later than 9.30am.
Marshals will initially direct you away from the school when you start the ride. You will also need to look out for route marking signs which will be displayed prominently near any junctions that you are required to turn into. These marker signs are yellow with a black arrow. They will also have a Black Rat sticker on them. Once you have made a turn into a junction, we will tie a piece of orange ribbon (wherever possible) within about 100m of the turning so that you can confirm that you are on the right road. You may also see ribbon on stretches of road where you havent turned off for a long time, just to reassure you that you are on the correct road. A map of the route will also be available at registration which you can put into your pocket.
When riding, please ensure that you keep to the laws of the road and ride responsibly. Also, please give horses a wide berth and plenty of warning that you are behind them.
Please take note of the following parts of the route where we advise that you use extreme caution:
All Riders Belmont Hill (12km) The bottom of this hill has a couple of tight bends that are easily overshot
All Riders Wrington Hill (33km) This steep, fast road ends in a T Junction. Please give yourself plenty of stopping time
All riders Wrington Village (34km) Please note that a Fun Run will start in the village at 10.45 and between then and 11am you may find runners in the road. Please remember that they are out having fun and trying to raise money for charity too, so please dont give them a hard time if they slow you down.
100 mile Riders Street End, Blagdon. (43km) This steep, fast road ends in a T Junction. Please give yourself plenty of stopping time.
100 mile Riders unnamed descent from Hinton Blewitt (71km). Blind bends at the bottom of descent on narrow road.
All Riders Cheddar Gorge. (125km for long course riders and 53km for 100km riders) We cannot stress to you enough about the need for caution on this descent. The top of the gorge is quite gentle and bends are not tight so you can gradually build up speed. The bottom of the descent becomes very technical with steep, tight bends, which if taken at speed by less experienced riders will cause you to ride on the wrong side of the road and potentially into oncoming traffic. A marshal will be in place to remind you to SLOW DOWN!
You will collect your timing chips when you sign on before the ride (or the day before if you come along on Saturday). These must be fixed to your bike as shown by the ladies on registration. When you cross the timing mat at the start of the ride the timing chip built into the number will start the timing mechanism. When you finish the ride you must cross the timing mat again in order to stop the clock and get a time for your ride.
100 mile riders will need to cross the timing mat at the second main feed station at Easton Village Hall in order to be given a 100 mile time. Anyone not crossing that second timing mat will only be given a 100km time, so even if you do not wish to stop at the feed station for refreshments, you must cross the timing mat.
Please note that the timing equipment at the school will be switched off at 6pm. This gives up to 9 ½ hours for the completion of your ride and should be plenty of time. Riders arriving back at the school after this time will unfortunately not be given a ride time.
Unlike previous years we are not able to put Gold, Silver and Bronze achievement times up on the web site because Avon & Somerset Police consider this to give too strong an element of competition to the event and effectively make it a time trial. As time trials need to be sanctioned as a race and our event isnt, we must therefore leave this out.
5. Feed Stations
There will be two main feed stations plus two banana/water stops on the course. These are situated as follows:
Feed 1. Burrington Combe 38km. All riders will pass here.
Banana/water stop 1. Top of Smithams Hill 78km. 100 mile riders only
Feed 2. Easton Village Hall. 112km. 100 mile riders only
Banana/water stop 2. Outside Mendip Spring Golf Club, Congresbury. 138km for 100 mile riders and 68km for 100km riders
There will also be a hot pasty and Black Rat Cider (plus tea and coffee) available after the ride at the event HQ for no charge to you.
Male and female toilets will be available for use at event HQ. These are situated next to the changing rooms and will be signposted. We will have plenty of spare toilet roll, so if the toilet has none, just ask at signing on, which is next to the toilets and changing rooms.
Toilets are also available at both main feed stops and all riders will pass public toilets after descending Cheddar Gorge, where you will turn right at the mini roundabout into Tweentown. There are also public toilets in Wedmore that 100 mile riders will pass.
Marshals are there to help direct you and to warn you of danger. They are not there to spoil your fun, nor are they allowed by law to stop other road traffic just so that you can exit a road junction. Please listen to any instructions given by them.
8. Mechanical Problems
As usual we will have outstanding support from Dave and Anders of Chaos Cycles. They will be on hand at event HQ to help with any last minute problems before setting off and they will also be out around the course. If you need assistance, there will be two emergency mobile phone numbers printed on the back of your number board. Please call one of them and we will inform the mechanics. Please note that in some areas of the course, mobile phone signals are quite poor so we may take a while to get to you.
9. Abandoning the Ride
Should you abandon the event for any reason, it is imperative that you (or someone) informs us at the event HQ. There are two emergency numbers on the back of your ride number and you should call one of these numbers or text it if you cannot speak to anyone. In previous years we have ended up making concerned calls to the emergency number left by missing riders who decided for one reason or another that they would not finish the event and went home without informing anyone. Obviously this causes some worry for the people we call as well as us. We cannot close the event without accounting for all riders that start.
Event photos will be available for you to buy from our event photographers http://www.capturecre8.com following your ride. These are for sale at a much cheaper price than the big agencies charge at other sportives yet the quality is equally as good, if not better because Craig and his team are local and know the best places to get good action shots of your riding.
These are the main briefing points. Please take notice of them, they are for your benefit! As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to drop us a line.
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