The sportive season is well and truly on and although in the past we haven’t been hugely into taking part we tend to ride a couple a year and they do serve a great purpose. Meeting new people, riding routes that are otherwise unfamiliar, raising money, training goals and so on. Our first sportive of 2016 was the Tour of the Dengie, an area featured somewhat in our last Day out of the Duckhouse, and although this route didn’t take in the actual marshes it did tour some of the surrounding villages on the peninsula that you genuinely wouldn't know existed.
This particular sportive tacks onto a popular triathlon, and as this triathlon was subject to the tides a 7:10 start to this ride was a particular shock. Having said that I would have rather been peddling than swimming!
An early start, and an early swim for some!
The start at Bradwell Marina was busy and full of riders and triathletes setting up their transition points but once we got out on the road the early start and distinctly rural location meant for quiet roads and quickly the group where we to stay in for the morning formed up and began w=to wind it up. The Bradwell road took us out to the somewhat forgotten villages of Steeple and Mayland before our right turn in Latchingdon. I probably have prattled on about this previously but it does continue to amaze me how we don't explore what is on our doorstep often enough. The villages we passed through this morning are out of the way, I guess they could almost be described as remote by modern standards (I mean they're not really but its decent bet that many are unaware of their existence bar the famed power station). Cycling gives us that option of exploring the area in which we live and the areas that we don't!
This particular morning, even though the clear roads had made for a pretty high pace, I was lucky enough to spot a Barn Owl hunting in the fields as we swung down Steeple Road. The morning view of the marina was evidence of our proximity to the sea and again it is a forgotten fact that Essex has more miles of coastline than any other county, although there must be a grey area between what constitutes coastline and indeed riverbank…
As our route heads back east we tackle the infamous/famous/notorious/famous Burnham Bends. A section of road on the way into Burnham on Crouch that features a series of 90 degree turns. Very popular with motorcyclists but really fun on a push bike too! The loop of this ride then headed back towards Bradwell through Tillingham and the village of Dengie before heading out again on a second lap.
Our flat, straight and thankfully windless route!
This particular route is a double lap because of its use by the triathetes, as a dual use course it could be longer and make use of some more of the area but as an event and a bit of a form tester it was really good fun with a lot of familiar local riders, friends and sponsors around and with the triathlon being so busy the atmosphere in the village was ace. A windless day on this potentially harsh route and the relatively short course made for some great riding and strong speeds. So all in all a pretty good day and highly recommended!