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Wimbleball Bike Route

RobRob Posts: 209
If anybody is doing the 70.3 at Wimbleball you might find this useful.

I managed to get down to Exmoor & reccy the bike route from the comfort of my car. I'm new to Tri but not a novice cyclist. I have a background of mountain biking so I know what a hill looks like. Unfortunately I didn't do Longleat last year so am unable to compare the two courses. Wimbleball though, looks 'challenging'. These notes were made as I was driving round, & I intend to go back & do the course on the bike, when it gets a bit warmer (what a woose!).

You can split the course broadly into four sections:

1. A climb from the Lake to the B3224 - gets steeper as you go

2. B3224 - good new surface in places. Undulating & fast.

3. Turning off the B3224 it's (overall) downhill with a very long, tricky descent to the A396 (v. steep at the bottom - caution on bend). It continues downhill to Exebridge where you turn at the octagon shaped house (I reckon the low point of the route)

4. Then it's up, up, up. Then down. Then up; I have a note it's a 14%er up after Morebath. At the junction of the road for Skilgate there's a long steep climb to Haddon Hill & a 1:6 down to Upton, another drag up, & back down to the lake.

If it's a wet race beware, I noticed the roads were very muddy in places. There were also sheep grazing loose by the side of the road - you wouldn't want to hit one. Unless you had some mint sauce flavoured gels maybe.

Hope this is of some help.


  • pacrfishpacrfish Posts: 266

    Thanks for the info. I entered for 70.3 before I saw the bike route and am now very worried - I don't do hills!! What do you reckon you'll be able to average over the course? Which is likely to be the worst bit? Are there any areas that are likley to be difficult in a strong wind (I don't do wind either!!). I'm doing this for charity so I need to be able to cross the finish line one way or another!

  • I live locally and yes the bike route is really going to be tough. When I rode part of it three weeks ago on my mountain bike there were some big pot holes and some very dodgy road surfacing just to add to the fun in places. I drove the longleat course and this years route looks a lot harder. Lets just hope for decent weather as lots of us will be out there for a long time!
  • pacrfishpacrfish Posts: 266
    Thanks Allercott. I live on the Notts/Leics/Derby border, don't suppose anyone knows of any hills around here that might compare - Peak District maybe?

    What do you think your bike time might be - I'm a bit concerned about that 5 1/2 hr cut off .... and the swim's going to take me 45-50mins .....

  • chischis Posts: 94
    Hi Pat

    Dont know the route that you are referring to but if you want some hills in the S Derby area try the area around Carsington Water / Ashbourne. I have done the Ashbourne Duathlon and its tough..I mean tough! The ride over the infamous Middleton Top is a real brute but the whole area is good for hilly routes... and Carsington Water makes for a nice day out too.

  • RobRob Posts: 209
    pacrfish - I wouldn't get too worked up about the ride, you've still got plenty of time to get some quality training in. But you will need to do some hill work for sure. As for average speed; I only just got a cycle computer recently & my average is around 15-16mph. I'm guessing on this course I'll average around the same. The uphills will drag your average right down, but then there are some fast downhills also which are going to compensate. Wind? It's Exmoor so there's potential for that any time. The B3224, being the highest part of the route might be the windiest, from what I remember the trees seemed to be growing sideways left to right on that part of the route. So that should give you an idea of the general prevailing wind.

    I'm looking to finish the swim in around 50-55mins on current form. Is the 5 1/2 hr cutoff for the bike/swim or just the bike section? I reckon on doing the bike section in 3.5-4hrs.
  • pacrfishpacrfish Posts: 266
    Hi Rob. This is all really helpful - I just wish there were more months between now and June. I think the 5 1/2 hrs is for swim + bike (1 hr for swim & 4.5 for bike). On my last long ride I did 52 miles in 3.5 hours (but it was really cold and windy!), so with the hills I'll be heading for 4 hours I guess.

    Looks like I need to head north from here (Ashbourne/Carsington Water sounds just what I need - thanks Chis!) and find some hills....

    Really cross today - it is beautiful outside here, a bit windy but very sunny - and I've had to cancel my long training ride for the week because some critical work has come in.... this would all be a lot easier if work didn't get in the way!

    Just to complete my panic - any idea what the run is like??

  • RobRob Posts: 209
    Hi pacrfish,

    YOU'RE worrying about the bike ride! This should make you feel better then, the longest ride I've done in the last 5 years is about 40 miles, & since Christmas it's been 28 miles. I've never ridden 56 miles in one hit in my life. Jeez, I was feeling OK until I read your last post! HELP!

    The run doesn't look too bad. I've only had a look at the map on the Ironman UK website & it looks to follow the side of the lake for a lot of it, & the contours aren't too numerous or close together, maybe 20-25m vertical at the maximum(?).

    Yeh, you're right, work is just an inconvenient diversion between training.
  • pacrfishpacrfish Posts: 266
    Thanks Rob, you've made me smile on a day when work has again defeated training! I'm used to being at the back (and yes, I've had the "and here comes the last lady home, come on love, all the way to the line ...." etc etc over the tannoy), but I've never had a cut-off time before so that is really scary.

    I don't mind crawling over the line but I do want to get there before they take it away!

    Anyway, I think those of us at the back provide an important service - if we weren't at the back, the greyhounds couldn't be at the front.

    PS 52 miles is the most I've ever done on the bike, I've never swum more than 1500m and a half marathon is my absolute max running distance (on a good day!)
  • rollorollo Posts: 25
    Apologies this may sound like a bit of a dumb question. I was thinking that for the bike route there will be no need for tri-bars as these will be unnecessary weight as it’s so hilly?! What do you think ?
  • pacrfishpacrfish Posts: 266
    Have now ridden (sort of!) the bike route and 'challenging' is an understatement! I'm definitely leaving my tri bars on so I can have a rest! At one point I'd decided I would have to get some pyro platforms and cycle in my trainers so I could walk up the hills... Some of the downhills are a bit scary too!

    More seriously, although it is very hilly I shall leave my tri bars on because I rode the course during a strong northerly wind, and I needed the most aerodynamic position I could find to try to maximise my average speed. I think a strong northerly or westerly could make that course even more 'challenging'!
  • RobRob Posts: 209
    Rollo, leave those tri bars on. You'll regret it if you take them off. The few grams extra will be far outweighed by the benefit you get from them.
  • RobRob Posts: 209
    Hey pacrfish, how did you get on? How long did it take you? Two or three of us are going down on Saturday to take a look. How's the training going? It's getting closer.
  • pacrfishpacrfish Posts: 266
    Don't really want to admit how badly I did ..... I averaged 12.3 mph which is not enough to get round before the cut-off. I scared myself on the first steep downhill (the one that goes round a corner then steeply down to join the A396) - thought I was going to go over the handlebars - then completely knackered myself trying to get up the first killer hill (the minor road across to Morebath). After that I just lost all confidence and had to walk up part of the other 2 killer hills ... and that was just on one loop!

    Nearly gave up after that and pulled out of the race, but I've got myself together again (almost) and I'm training like crazy on every hill I can find.

    I'd be really interested to know what you think of it - and take a look at the run too, cos I think it goes up yet another steep hill 3 times ..... and then there's the run to T1 which also has to be uphill!

    Have fun

  • DOtriHarderDOtriHarder Posts: 307
    Pacrfish A tip: Change your bike comnputer to KPH it feels faster[&:]

    The positive side is that you now have a realistic idea of where you are and how hard you have to train, you are still in that race; well done.

    Find those hills and make mincemeat of them, find that place in your head that won't let you walk, the place where you store all that unused adrenaline.

    one session per week on the bike repeatedly hill climbing, if you can find one hill that takes 5 miinutes to climb and you can get to the top without walking the first time then use that hill to train on. repeat climb, relax down, until you can't complete the climb without walking.

    When climbing a hill don't stop pushing the minute you hit the top, push over the top until gravity takes over then you can relax a little.

    Stay in the saddle all the time you can, change down as you need to keeping your cadence between 70 and 90, don't change right down too early and don't just try to thump it out.

    Only get out the saddle for the short steep hills where you can put in a sprint effort to top the hill fast.

    Do the same for your run training, but don't do a hill bike session within two days of a hill run session.

    Remember: Everest was tall until Hillary climbed it and now more people go to the top each year than go to Tescos. You will be victorious.

  • pacrfishpacrfish Posts: 266
    Thanks DOtriHarder. You've just made me laugh and that always helps. At pushing 50 and with no athletic activity at all until 5 years ago I know I'm pushing my limits - but if I don't do it now there won't be a 'later'....

    Thanks for the advice - it is very welcome. I'll try the 'climb til you can't' technique - there is a hill 100 yards from my house and although it's not very steep it may well do for that sort of session.

    Don't know if you're one of the mad bunch going to Exmoor this weekend but I'd love to know how you all get on.

  • fatmattfatmatt Posts: 145
    there's another motive for me to go out hill climbing, you get to break the land spoeed record on the way down, 52.4mph so far, let me know if you've beaten that and i'll go and hunt out a bigger one, the only rule is that you must have climbed it first!!!

    good luck

  • fatmattfatmatt Posts: 145
    but obviously be safe
  • madnursemadnurse Posts: 782
    52.4 mph ????? on slicks ... skinny little ones at that .. ok !!!!!!!!!!!! find me a hill big enough
  • pacrfishpacrfish Posts: 266
    And I was really pleased with my 31.5 mph ........

    Serious question:

    My husband always goes much, much faster downhill than I do - we're about the same height but he weighs nearly 5 stone more (and has a slightly more rotund shape - hope he's not reading this ...) but he says it can't be his weight that makes him go faster because of Newtons laws of motion. I can't see what else it can be - I can get a much more aerodynamic position on the bike but he still beats me by miles. Any scientists out there who can help??
  • DOtriHarderDOtriHarder Posts: 307
    Matt - Managed max 54.5 on Sunday in the rain (Safe!!!) and it was steeper on the upside. Hit 63 in training two weeks ago and i was on my brakes from halfway down the hill! But also later that morning managed to lock the back wheel, when it seemed my brakes were no longer effective enough, going down a steep hill and slithered worryingly, i wasn't going to stop.

  • loonytoonloonytoon Posts: 673
    ah its a shame I aint taking my bike to my parent's at the weekend there 2 hills up that allow this sort of speed...

    never been there before (mid 40s on a MTB) but a friend of mine on a road bike when upper 50s so I know the hills are good enough...

    p.s.Fatmatt that is damn quick btw...

  • madnursemadnurse Posts: 782
    hi Pat --- oooh words like momentum & gravity spring to mind ... not to mention chauvinist !!!

    a few more weeks of washing up (for him) might help your cause for fair play.

  • loonytoonloonytoon Posts: 673

    technical bollox coming up

    its all about the way that a larger mass over comes the forces preventing decent and forward motion easier than a light mass


    friction air resistance etc

  • DOtriHarderDOtriHarder Posts: 307
    Pacrfish - Your hubby really sort sort out his motions[&:] Newton said "every time you go down you must come up again - even if only for air - eh Nurse"

    Your husband would be correct about the weight if he was in a vacuum but i bet he would't enjoy the demonstration.

    The other variable not mentioned is the wheel bearing in your bike and his; better quality ones will roll much more easily and faster. Size of tyres will affect ground resistance and weight of wheels will affect rolling resistance.

  • rollorollo Posts: 25
    I've hit 56.1 mph, nearly lost my voice shouting wahhhhhooooooooooooooooo going down that hill.

    Here is the polar chart: http://www.rollings.info/images/Polar.jpg

  • pacrfishpacrfish Posts: 266
    Thanks for the feedback - and I just love that kreuzotter website - much more interesting than work .... I've spent hours playing this afternoon ...

    Have also tried suggesting more washing up to husband - but somehow he's not enthusiastic .....

    Ho hum - back to hill climbing!
  • fatmattfatmatt Posts: 145
    pacrfish, it's definitely the weight thing, i'm 15 stone and just get down them hills quicker than the rest of the club,

    every one else who bettered my record attempt!!! damn damn damn erm i mean well done!!! bugger it!!

    right i'm taking the day off sick and going to find a big hill

    60+ mph that must be fun, well they say do something everyday that scares you, oh and they say always wear clean pants, the two sort of don't go together

  • RobRob Posts: 209
    pacrfish, look at the positives, at least you found out what the course was like well in advance. You've still got 8 weeks of hillwork to look forward to(!) to get you in shape. It would've been a bummer if you saw the course for the first time on race day, imagine the shock that would have given you. If it's not too personal a question, can I ask why you're doing it? We're going to check out the run route as well on Saturday, that sounds hillier than I was expecting. I guess as the end of the day it is an 'Iron'man. Can't expect to have it too easy. Wouldn't be a challenge then would it?!

    fatmatt, you say do something scary everyday. Does that include going to work? If you make it on Saturday I'm just going to sit behind you on the bike. 15 stone of fatmatt in front of me should create a nice hole in the air for me to sit in & get sucked along.
  • DOtriHarderDOtriHarder Posts: 307
    Ok own up and look stupid time, my computer is set for Kph and i didn't read the thread properly[8|]

    So let's revise my 63 down to 41mph! OK so i 'm a light weight: it's all this training, i'd tried eating but my belly just got in the way.

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