Viewing 40 posts - 201 through 240 (of 263 total)
  • Dirty Reiver 2023
  • crosshair
    Free Member

    Well that was fairly epic. I see the point about the grinding paste now 🤣

    Will write up more later.

    XC bike was definitely a better choice for me personally. Had an ongoing battle with gears. Was longing for di2 🤣

    Had a puncture for the first time but plugged successfully with two plugs.

    Executed my plan to ramp up the last section. Haven’t even uploaded to strava yet though.

    Fitness was, it’s the best I’ve ever felt after one but not sure I felt much better in the middle 🤣

    Nice one @alansd1980, well done.
    I hope I was polite 🤣🤣

    Full Member

    How did the weather hold up for you? I was up in North Yorkshire at the in laws and it turned out to be a lovely day with not a drop of rain.

    Free Member

    Was dry at dawn then damp then wet then lovely!

    Average power 196w, moving time 9:37.44 but my chip time will be slowest ever thanks to loitering in queues at aid stations 🤣

    Free Member

    The chat in the van is whether I went too easy!
    I basically spent 8.5hrs in Z2 whereas Rich was mostly in Tempo 🤣

    I think I’d trade how fresh I’m feeling now though for a few extra minutes off of my moving time on Strava 🧐

    Free Member

    It’s hilarious looking at chip time finishing percentiles. In 2021 I was in the top 41%. In 2022 I was in the top 53% and this year I was in the top 78% 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

    So much for 12 hours a week of structured training 🤣🤣🤣🤣

    Free Member

    where are the results?

    Free Member

    More analysis going on down the motorway (it’s nice having a driver this year 🤣).

    If I want hard evidence that my Z2 based training has worked- not only was my power 20w higher but my decoupling was just 7.8%!! Last year, it was 17.7%.

    Rich is saying I didn’t try hard enough but because he didn’t run a power meter, maybe his tempo HR was only buying him Z2 power by the end…

    Free Member


    I was about 30 minutes slower than last year. I thought the course was harder. Back loaded with climbing and the Toll road at 130km nearly bought me to a standstill. Big stack on the way into the 100km feed station scared me. That muddy bit! Left the track and ended up in a ditch and a fellow rider had to help me out. Faffed loads at the feed stations stopped time was >30min. Group pulled into no. 1 which I didn’t really need to stop at but wanted to stay with them. No. 3 I was gone so I needed 15 minutes for a coffee, change of gloves and “normal ish” food.

    8h55 and given my thoughts on riding through the week were DNS/135/65/Don’t die I’ll take that.

    I was Z2 and 3 all day which is about right. I ate enough calories but maybe not well paced. Struggled with cold hands to get things out of my pockets so tended to grab loads at one point.

    I was running a 40t chainring and a 36t cassette. My Cross setup. I think I probably need to get a bigger cassette if I do it again. I ride a low cadence but had to stand up on the steeper bits and it probably took it’s toll.

    Was the video on here about “aero” I am wondering if I should ditch the bar bag and go top tube+ small frame bag. I have that as an option already. I probably should have worn my aero helmet too – mainly to keep my head warmer and the rain off.

    As previously I think I enjoyed it? Apart from a very low point on the toll road the first 135km were actually fun, even with the rain.

    Hold on, this sounds like I’m already thinking about next year and I can barely walk up stairs.

    Free Member

    Well done that’s awesome!

    Free Member

    We’re discussing- whether they should neutralise the aid stations with timing mats so you don’t get penalised for actually stopping and getting your moneys worth 🤔

    Having never stopped at one before- it was insane how bad the queuing is.

    Free Member

    Interesting close up from a pic of me. You can see how big tyres, low pressure and suspension help even on relatively small stones. A 30-40psi 40-30mm tyre would have had to go up and over that one!

    Free Member

    @jonba It’s a bit southern softy but fearing the worst, I put hot hands chemical heat pads between my shoes and shoe covers. I also wore latex gloves first, then my long sleeved winter gloves with more hot hands between the two on the back of my hands.
    I also then put fresh pairs of each in my half way bag and swapped them out.
    I was then able to just wear normal thin Castelli socks and am pleased to say hands and feet were toasty all day 😀

    Full Member

    We’re discussing- whether they should neutralise the aid stations with timing mats so you don’t get penalised for actually stopping

    Why? As they tell you, it’s not a race.
    If you want to challenge for the FKT, do it unsupported when there are fewer people out there.

    We were discussing the possibility of not allowing people to pass marshal points until a specific time to stop some of the stupider overtakes on the early sections…

    Why does elapsed time matter so much anyway? Bragging rights about how many people you “beat”?

    Free Member

    Then why bother having timing at all?

    Nobody would turn up otherwise.

    The reason for me (in the top 3/4 🤣) would be for personal growth. What incentive is there for me to come back try and beat a time when a really badly designed aid station layout has cost me 30 mins on the chip time?

    Free Member

    @stealthcat If you have contact with the organiser- then I’d definitely appreciate you feeding back that it felt like it was stretched to the seams this year.
    Like an event with a budget to cater for 50 people where 1600 turned up 🤣
    The expo was lame, the pasta ran out at 6pm, the layout was chaotic, the advertised bike wash non existent or so hidden/poorly sign posted that it just as well have not been there, the guy said he was going to do a Bobby Wintle and shake everybody’s hand at the finish personally but was nowhere to be seen at the end 🤣, the queue for one hose at aid one was crazy, the one portaloo at feed two ‘optimistic’ to be polite and as I say- the timing rendered pointless.

    I loved it because I love Northumberland (my wife’s family are from there) and I love the atmosphere of a big event but I’d definitely say it was in spite of anything the organisers did.

    Full Member

    Almost home after an extended ride round London due to train cancellations and the marathon blocking all direct routes!

    The first 2 feed stations were poor. I couldn’t even find food at the first one and managed to get water from the red bull stand. To have 1 water station was never going to be enough with the route. If the first 50k had been really hilly it would have split the field so maybe not so many coming in together.

    Feed 2, got my bag really easily but a massive queue for drinks. At that point I was convinced I was chucking in the towel at 135 so didn’t bother to refill.

    Feed 3 was great – loads of food and drinks, hot and cold as well as soup.

    The event is probably now almost too big for Kielder castle as a starting point from what I saw. Having starting pens on one of the roads would probably make it less of a free for all.

    Route marking and the route itself were all great which is the main thing and the organisers did make a point of saying the stations were to supplement so if people had nothing then they have to take the blame themselves. The amount of frame bags I saw makes me thing there was plenty being carried.

    At the end I literally rolled over the finish line and had to go pack my tent so didn’t see the food or was so can’t comment

    Every event has some positive sand negatives but this was good. Not sure I would do it again but glad to have done it.

    Free Member

    Well done mate @alansd1980 👏🏻
    I had a bowl of the finish line curry but binned it as it was frankly awful. (There was a lot of curry in the bin already 😔)

    Were you pleased with the bike choice? 😉

    Free Member

    Another year marshaling for me. Weather just about held off – I was glad I’d taken a last minute decision to chuck a tarp in, which I rigged off the car at both my checkpoints and gave me a bit of shelter. (I was just after the muddy bit about 5-8k before Food 1). I’ll admit I was slightly glad my missus missed the 200k cutoff, as it meant we were in the car and leaving just as the weather broke in the evening, not still stood out in it clanging a cowbell.

    Mostly it seemed pretty painless from my end. As always – the fast guys as always were a miserable bunch (to be fair most of the 200ers were more friendly when I saw them near the end); there’s far more grins and banter with the midpack and slower riders who are enjoying the adventure and for whom just finishing is the challenge. I had a chat with a lass who was regretting not taking the 65k shortcut – hopefully gave her enough of a boost to make it the rest of the way on the 130 route – it’s people like that I admire. There’s a lot of riders who need to learn about mudguards. I spent a lot of the afternoon looking at red eyes peering out of a uniform ghostly grey rider/bike combo!

    – we’ve had this converstation before.

    The reason for me (in the top 3/4 🤣) would be for personal growth. What incentive is there for me to come back try and beat a time when a really badly designed aid station layout has cost me 30 mins on the chip time?

    One could suggest that your personal growth may be aided by kicking back a bit, chatting with other riders, heckling the marshals, enjoying the atmosphere, bonding with nature/the great outdoors, taking pics of the views for the ‘gram etc. So what if it costs you 30 minutes on chip time? You’ve still got your “moving time” from your GPS for your own satisfaction. The only reason chip time is important is if you’re comparing yourself to others. Which as its not a race, there’s no need to.

    Then why bother having timing at all?

    Nobody would turn up otherwise.

    I did the Frontier 300 last summer – partly because it was untimed. I was actually a bit disappointed/annoyed that they published times afterwards, because it then changed the nature of the event. I knew how long I’d taken, the rest was irrelevant (turned out I was in the top 1/8th, but, well, meh). The important thing was the beer at the end was worth it! Getting rid of timing might make the Reiver appeal less to you, but it would make it more appealing to a different type of rider and completely irrelevant to many others.

    Full Member

    Another 200km finisher here, got round in an elapsed time of 10h 37m, my Garmin gave a moving time of 9h 30m and an average speed of a touch over 20 kmph, which i’m very happy with, and an hour or so of stoppage time over that distance is good for me!

    Feed 1 was an absolute shit show! I only briefly stopped to put some air in my tyres as the 35psi I started with whilst comfy were squirming about too much for my confidence levels, it was really disappointing to see so many blokes pissing against every bush and tree in sight, could they not have waited until they were back off road and go there? I suspect the local residents wouldn’t have been too happy.

    Feed 2, whilst busy was fine got plenty without hassle, though it would appear OTE nutrition doesn’t agree with me because I spent the next hour after that feeling really sick.

    Feed 3 was like an oasis of calm compared to the others and it was super nice to get a cup of tea to go with my pork scratchings and Mars bar, which set me up very well for the final push and I felt great, also bumped into @slowboydickie there who was just leaving as I arrived.

    Overall I enjoyed the route and the general vibe, my only real complaint is the lack of facilities at the overflow camping, whilst putting showers on might be a logistical step too far for a tenner a night for all the people that were camped there i’m sure they could have hired a mobile washroom with some basins to have a wash after.

    I probably won’t be rushing back, mostly because I have other things that I also want to do, and it is a bloody long way from Sussex.

    6 weeks or so now until the Frontier 300 and i’m definitely feeling more confident about that now.

    Free Member

    it was really disappointing to see so many blokes pissing against every bush and tree in sight,

    Tell me about it! Every time I turned round at my first checkpoint there was another guy stood there, Johnson in hand, busy inspecting the scenery. It was like the Monty Python incontinent’s marathon sketch!

    Feels like you could run a research project on gravel bikers with prostate issues?

    Free Member

    Well done @Bazz 👏🏻 Great stuff. We were pretty close on both times.

    I can’t imagine Timing Up North are cheap to provide coverage for such a big event- I’d happily do it with no official timing if it meant the entry fee was half 😉

    I spoke to every Marshall I saw- said thanks to every single one.
    I was there with a mate this year who had no intention of riding non-stop as I like to do.
    Hence why I’ve now fully appreciated what an absolute s**t show the rest stops are 🤣🤣

    The reason the chip time *is* important is because it gives you a percentile based comparison to gauge progress that accounts for weather and surface conditions (Ie everyone in a given year has faced the same conditions where as your personal strava time could be vastly different through no fault of your own).

    It seems like a fairly shoddy middle ground at the minute- ambiguous timing that’s entirely dependent on luck at an aid station (which like you say is the place to chill and enjoy things and get some more value out of the entry fee) if the chip time stopped in and out as I suggest- it would actually do more to facilitate what you say you think the situation should be 😀

    People would be less stressed not more.

    Free Member

    I can’t find the photographer who I thumbed up this year but I’m always enjoying it, don’t let all my talk of power data make you think I’m a brooding old roadie all the time 🤣

    I might be eligible for a reps job with “All Bodies On Bikes” with this set of pics mind you 😱 🤣

    Full Member

    I wonder if setting people off in groups might ease the situation at the feed stops? Those doing the shorter routes could go off slightly later. Perhaps ask participants their expected time, as they do at some running events I have taken part in and then group accordingly, although as a first time entrant, I admit I really didn’t know how long it was going to take me. I like the timed aspect and tried to my minimise the time I spent at the feed stops, carried enough food to see me through, though more availability of water could have helped everyone.

    Full Member

    Perhaps ask participants their expected time, as they do at some running events I have taken part in and then group accordingly,

    One problem with that, as there always is in running and biking events – people lie.

    Full Member

    @tourismo – that becomes a logistical nightmare for 2 reasons.

    Firstly, you either send the slow riders out first so that they have more time, or have to keep marshals on course for an extra couple of hours, and make sure the fast boys haven’t pinched all the food at feed stops / the end before the slower ones get there.

    Secondly, you get the people who want to ride with their partner / riding buddy / club to start with and then go off to do the longer route – they will start asking to change start groups, and then it gets complicated to work out the permutations…

    I’m nothing to do with Focal, btw – I’ve just done enough of their events that I know a lot of the regular marshals.

    Free Member

    Yeah, they say they’re trying to emulate Unbound etc and therefore presumably mass-start is part of the appeal.

    Not sure I even knew Nicholas Roche was there yesterday mind you 🤷🏻‍♂️ 🤣🤣

    Full Member

    I loved it. Only managed the 130 this year but thought the course was easier than the last time I did it 2yrs ago. Feed stop 1 was horrendously slow but the worst part was riders grabbing the plastic containers that the brownies etc came in and filling them up full with everything available – greedy ********!!! Feedstop 2 was fine as I’d started to come alive again after dying at around the 80km mark!

    Great event and who cares if it wasn’t perfect, at least they made the effort!!

    Thanks to all the Marshalls, you make it (slightly) easier 😜

    Full Member

    Yeah – definitely a big thanks to the Marshals. The encouragement was definitely needed and appreciated whilst going around.

    I remember the spot you were at, @jonedwards – I pulled over there as I thought my BB was borked. Turns out it was just all the mud from that section was causing a horrendous racket.

    Again, thanks for putting your time into it. It’s certainly appreciated.


    Free Member

    Hopefully the organisers care it wasn’t perfect and try and improve.

    IRL I’m pretty much as easy going and self sufficient as it gets and had I done my usual and rode non stop I’d have not noticed some of the problems. But at £75 a pop, plus headline sponsers helping out, it did feel like they’d taken a £10 local school fete bike ride and done nothing more than added a sticker saying GRAVEL to it to justify the extra price 🤣🤣🤣

    Full Member

    it did feel like they’d taken a £10 local school fete bike ride and done nothing more than added a sticker saying GRAVEL to it to justify the extra price

    Ouch. As part of the team, I’ll take your feedback into the review we do. Feed 1 is usually a place for riders to fly by, or stop briefly to grab a snack and is usually an outside affair. With all the talk of torrential rain etc, we took the decision to go inside the hall, which in hindsight was an error. It caused congestion and delays and slowed everything down – not to mention the state of the hall………..

    It sounds like you arrived at the busiest period. Timing points are as much about knowing where you all are, or were last tracked. We don’t cook the finishers food and always try to support local business – we’ll review the options there.

    We’re listening. And good effort on your ride and consistent training.

    Free Member

    My photos are now up on Roots and Rain. I’m still on with tagging but can’t tag all due to the mud and not being able to read the numbers. Photos are time stamped though.

    Full Member

    Well done to all that finished this year. 200km off-road is a good achievement.

    I tried to buy an entry but just missed out.

    There sounds like that there is plenty of room for improvement with the planning though. As I’ve mentioned on here beforehand (more than once), I struggle to justify the entry fees into these events especially when you hear that some of the things you’re paying for you don’t actually get.

    The event is still on my bucket list, maybe next year.

    Free Member

    Thanks @boxelder 😀

    Just to reiterate again to avoid doubt- every single person I had interaction with was awesome.
    Everyone was in great spirits and trying their best. The mechanic at aid 2 was like a battlefield surgeon magically saving the lives of bikes who should have been long since dead 🤣

    Any criticism I have goes right to the very top- they knew how many entries they had.

    The worst thing I haven’t mentioned was no finishers patch 😭 🎻 🤣🤣🤣

    Full Member

    I did the 130km ride and enjoyed it. We stayed in teepee tents in the rugby club.
    That was a great option & being so close to the event centre was really good. The only downside to it was that 2 loos weren’t really enough….but, it was fine.
    Showers were amazing. Best showers I have used at any event.
    It’s a shame that the inflatable pub & BBQ didn’t get more traction. I think with the rain & chill in the air, there wasn’t much appetite for it.

    As for the ride – first time I’ve done the Reiver. I enjoyed it. The course was probably easier than I expected, although that could be me under-estimating the effectiveness of my training. There were times I felt I could have done with a slightly easier gear – I was on 40 with an 11-42 cassette and am a bit of a spinner, so some of the hills towards the end were a slog.
    That’s not to say it was an easy ride – but I was expecting parts of it to be a real struggle for me, but it was actually OK.
    I live on the edge of the fenny flatlands, so hills are my nemesis.

    My Wahoo time was 6:11 – my official time was 6:22 which I was happy with.
    I stopped at feed 1 only to swap my gilet for a waterproof, relube my chain & scoff a gel. It looked busy to me, but I just propped my bike against the cluster of bins, so didn’t see the main area.
    Feed 2 was also busy, but I only waited 30seconds or so to get some energy drink. Part of the congestion there seemed to be all the people dumping there bikes as close as they could to the stalls so you couldn’t easily get past.

    Thanks to the marshalls! I think I also saw JonEdwards’ tarp loaded car – I remember passing it & thinking what a good idea it was.

    Timing – meh. If you are that bothered about getting a super-quick time, don’t rely on feed stations & keep on trucking. It’s not a race and you have the moving time from the bike GPS, so does it really matter if all of the feed stations are timed? I think it would have been a lot more cost/effort to have had all the extra timing stuff at the entry/exit to all feed stations.

    Finally – I was well happy with my Camino. I’ve only had it for about 2 months and it was left as stock. The 45mm tyres at 35psi seemed ideal and I had no issues bike-wise.

    Free Member

    Well done @stumpy01 that’s awesome 👍🏻

    Ref the timing it’s just an idea we thought of to make it meaningful. Otherwise sack off Timing Up North altogether and make it a cheaper event.
    I don’t ride round the garden without gps running so as you say- it’s not actually an issue. It just feels pointless the way it’s done.

    Free Member

    I had a great weekend but feel I have unfinished business. Signed up for the 200km but given the weather me and the guy I was riding with decided to drop to the 130km. Was an easy decision at the time and think I’d have struggled with the 200km on the day but….

    Anyway, chapeau to all who road and especially those that did the long route. I was 41st of 197 is my category so pleased with the pacing.

    A couple of lads in the Angler we were talking to said it was the hardest yet in terms of the ground conditions and they’d done them all to far. There quite a few people with 1000 yard stares out there.

    Re the organisation, I thought it was very good overall. They have a difficult balance to strike between rider welfare and logistics v making riders feeling that they are on an adventure in a remote part of the world. All the event info I saw emphasised the need to be self-sufficient. It’s not a road sportive. I stopped doing them after I heard one too many self-entitled roadies winge about the lack of gels as a feed stop. My only feedback is 1. lack of loos for those who can’t or prefer not to pee in the trees and 2. some ambigiuty over what if any mechanical support there was on the course. 3. that veggie curry/stew thing wasn’t great.

    As for the complaints about the start and the timing… well, let’s not take ourselves too seriously eh? Point taken about the cost but just look at the geographical area they need to mark out, marshal, monitor with timing stations etc.

    All in all, thoroughly enjoyable event in the best county in England. I may return.

    Free Member

    Otherwise sack off Timing Up North altogether and make it a cheaper event.

    The point of the timing is largely about safety. The organisers know a) who started; b) who took which route option c) who finished. If there’s a disparity between who started and who finished, they have some idea of where to start looking from knowing which timing pads they went past, which they didn’t, and when.

    But at £75 a pop, plus headline sponsers helping out, it did feel like they’d taken a £10 local school fete bike ride and done nothing more than added a sticker saying GRAVEL to it to justify the extra price

    This is harsh. My day job is in a different segment of the events industry – one of the reasons I keep volunteering to marshal is that Focal do genuinely have their shit together compared to other event organisers I’ve worked for. Things like foodstations are actually little fripperies round the edges. Getting a couple of thousand people round the route safely is the big thing, and this they do very well.
    RE entry fee; having seen Stonehaugh Village Hall, I can believe it looked like a £10 audax location when in full spate, but, well, its a village hall in BF Nowhere – its gonna look like that! Practically £75 gets you very little these days – it cost us more in diesel just to get there and back. Even with the title sponsors adding money, stuff like this only just breaks even, and the organisers are probably well below minimum wage if they were to work out an hourly rate. As an example – all the plant on site – lights, power, tents, extra toilets and showers etc are all going to have to be dragged in from Carlisle or Newcastle. I wouldn’t be surprised to find there’s a 5 figure sum just for the transport of that stuff. It adds up VERY quickly. Hell, what’s the public liability insurance cost for running an event that drags over 1000 people across some of the most remote land in the country??

    Full Member

    Hell, what’s the public liability insurance cost for running an event that drags over 1000 people across some of the most remote land in the country??

    Disclaimer: I have no idea on the insurance provider or costs incurred by the DR organisers!

    For Sportives (on or off road), I know British Cycling charge an up front cost of £50 and then a levy of £1.20 per rider.
    So for 1000 riders, that’d be £1250 total. Actually not the worst value in the world but it’ll vary between insurance providers and I can imagine some charging a lot more based on the perceived increase in risk due to the remote terrain.

    Plus the insurance will depend on the Risk Assessment factors such as First Aid cover and the options for rescuing a casualty or getting to an incident which will involve far more costs in terms of the number of personnel and the equipment (4×4 ambulances, radio boosters, GPS tracking, marshals etc) and keeping all those people fed, watered and safe as well.

    In a road Sportive you can more or less leave a lot of that up to the regular blue light services maybe with back up from St John or similar at feed stations. Off road, especially somewhere as remote as Kielder, you need to provide your own full on paramedics throughout.

    Free Member

    Fair point about the safety aspect with the timing but then have it and don’t publish it if people aren’t allowed to ‘care’ about it 🤷🏻‍♂️

    Thinking on your comments further- I actually think it’s an annoying price rather than a high one. Vrs a £13 Crit it’s obviously ridiculous but if there’s not enough money in it at £75 then make it £200 and justify the expense of everyone getting there- as you say, the main expenses everyone incurred are not the entry fee as it is.

    I did a local mtb ride last year called UptoNoGood and that was £35 but blew the socks off of DR for atmosphere, vibe and smooth running.

    My mate was there for the first time having only done road sportives before so it was interesting to hear his thoughts. I’ll not publish them without his context though but needless to say he wasn’t overly impressed (although I won him round with my love for the man made timber-factory that Kielder is so we’ll no doubt be back 🤣).

    FWIW ultimately my job is events management too and I’ve learned that the customer is always right- there’s not an infinite pool of clients out there, so the simplest way to get people back is to blow their socks off with service.

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