Course / Venue guides and reviews - what to expect, where

Talk about your races - Time Trials, Road Races or Cyclocross.
AlainR
Posts: 86
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 15:33 pm
Contact:

Course / Venue guides and reviews - what to expect, where

Postby AlainR » Sat Mar 17, 2012 08:04 am

As a rookie racer this year, it's my first time attending a lot of races in the UK and as part of my mental and physical prep I like to have an idea as to what to expect from the various race venues. It also helps me to work out which venues are likely to suit me and which are worth travelling for.

As such, as I race different venues / courses / tracks, I'll be writing a summary of my findings in the hope that others can benefit too. Ive only raced a couple of venues so far but with varying pack sizes, weather conditions and categories of racing they've proved to be slightly different week on week.

Please feel free to add your reviews of other venues that you've experienced too. It doesn't need to be closed circuit. Velodrome, road course, TT etc would all be good!

Ludgershall, Wiltshire

Ludgershall is based on a REME test track. It's a circa 1 mile long closed circuit loop with pretty much two straights and two corners, save for a slight s-bend entering the final corner. It's surrounded mostly by fairly dense trees, which can be great for sheltering from the wind, however more often than not the wind howls into the final corner and then pushes you nicely down the main straight.

The course is pretty narrow at times and racing lines can squeeze the group up at times, which can prove interesting give that there is no run off as the boundaries are set by an immediate abundance of trees. The track surface is pretty uneven and is made up of various sections of Tarmac and concrete slabs with narrow ruts in between. These ruts and bumps can be rather interesting in the corners as you find your bike twitching about. In the wet, it can be very twitchy indeed.

The course is very slightly undulating, but only by a few meters, so is more of a false flat so tends to follow the typical pattern of power, corner, power, corner...

More than 30-35 people in the pack make for a fairly tight race with little room to maneuver. I've had a few enjoyable races here though.

Image

Mountbatten, Portsmouth

This is pretty much an outdoor, Tarmac velodrome at the sports centre that is very much oval in shape. It's a short circuit with slight banking in the main corners and not too much surrounding it to protect it from the elements.

I've only raced here once but found it to be a good rolling course that sat at a much more constant speed due to the lack of need to slow for corners. This means that you need to be able to maintain a good constant speed but still have the legs to jump, with little to no recovery.

Image

Thruxton

A nice wide, sweeping race track (it's a motorsport venue) with a good surface. The first half sweeps gently down hill, through a few corners before climbing up towards the final chicane and into the start / finish straight. The corners can be interesting as despite the width of the track, everyone seems to want to clip the apex and swing back out. This is especially noticeable in the chicane.

Each lap is about 2.3 miles long with ~20m of elevation gain but it's very open and often windy. A very nice track to race on, so long as you don't get squeezed to hard on the corners.

Image

Llandow (15 miles west of Cardiff)

A small motor racing circuit about 0.9m in length. The course is an oval with one 'proper' chicane that can be bypassed and another chicane that generally gets ridden straight if the bunch is strung out. The course gets run either way - clockwise gives a fairly long straight with a slight uphill finish whilst anti-clockwise the finish is quite close to the final bend and usually the first one into the bend wins (I think they usually bypass the chicane on the final lap when running that way but could be wrong!). The course is exposed and there is almost always a nasty wind.

Image

Maindy

A 460m concrete velodrome that has some 'road races' run on it.

Image

Tameside Cycle Track

Short (half a mile) twisty circuit including a hairpin. Narrow. Almost completely flat and quite quick on a good surface. Grass run off.

Milton Keynes Bowl

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&ll= ... 4&t=h&z=16 (not sure how to embed the map image.

Generally a good tarmac surface, used as a service road for a concert venue. There's a few configurations used. The kidney shaped circuit (0.6m) tends to be flat out the whole way with nothing to slow up for. It's raced in both directions, one direction has a short sharper (but not too sharp) incline, the other direction has a longer gentle drag. The finish line is always at the top of the climbs.

The other configurations happen when they "open the gates", which usually fills me with dread. One way you go out of gates at the bottom of the longer hill, 4 x 90 degree turns, on usually dodgy surface (leaves, twigs, bumpy, gritty/gravelly) on footpaths and across car park.

The other configuration the course goes out a gate at the top of the hill. I prefer this to the other, it's a good tarmac surface (usually used for motorbike tuition). This section is usually pretty quick as it involves a gentle downhill, then has a couple of tight twists before going back through another set of gates and back on to the main circuit.

Ilton, Somerset


http://g.co/maps/z9sb9

A semi-active Fleet Air Arm airfield (RNAS Merryfield), races run in both directions around the access road. Overall length is nat's over 3 miles. Surface is in good condition, wide and predominantly flat, so average speeds are typically high. Due to the width and the lack of any serious corners, it doesn't really have the usually corner-sprint-regroup action that you get on twistier circuits. In quite an exposed location, so it's pretty common to have a head/cross wind blowing, making things difficult over sections of the course.

Link to Strava segment for the course: http://app.strava.com/segments/770190

Darley Moor


Motorbike racing circuit in a semi extinct rural location. Pleasantly surrounded by a light aircraft and microlight runway and sheep farm to the centre of the circuit. Good Tarmac surface wide enough for an 80 bunch engines to sit pulling Lenny Henry faces at each other when being scared of doing a turn on the front. Occasional Chicanes are spiced up with tub and rim busting rumble strips and the width of the circuit allows adeaqute room for the landing of the Derbyshire Air ambulance after the invetiable bunch sprint crash. Has its own microclimate so winter and summer clothing is essential.

Hogg Hill

http://g.co/maps/u9s8n

Just in case no one has been there! Purpose built bike circuit, various configurations can be used. Bends are sweeping and can mostly be taken at speed, good tarmacced surface and wide. There is a hill that's short but sharp which can break things up a bit.

Hillingdon

http://g.co/maps/hq63f

Another one that's popular. Purpose built bike circuit. Again fast bends, good tarmacced surface and wide. A very gentle rise that's hardly noticeable. The circuit is raced in both directions.

East Bedford open road circuit.

http://ridewithgps.com/routes/994437

This circuit is used for a few races each year. HQ is usually in the village of Cople with the start neutralised until through Cardington, or starting from the village of Old Warden with the start neutralised until just outside the village. A lap is 11.3 miles. Surface is like any typical country lanes, need to be wary by the side of the road for potholes, but it's not too bad. Grit/gravel can accumulate on some of the bends. Have to be careful of cars parked on the road in the village of Old Warden. Two hills, one is fairly gentle and over in a minute or two. The other is a bit steeper and longer, the finish line is at the top.
Last edited by AlainR on Thu Mar 22, 2012 21:50 pm, edited 6 times in total.

Jonathand257
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 22:42 pm

Re: Course / Venue guides and reviews - what to expect, wher

Postby Jonathand257 » Sat Mar 17, 2012 09:15 am

Tarmac velodrome at the sports centre that is very much oval in shape

You'll find most velodromes are oval shaped, works best like that!

AlainR
Posts: 86
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 15:33 pm
Contact:

Re: Course / Venue guides and reviews - what to expect, wher

Postby AlainR » Sat Mar 17, 2012 09:49 am

Thanks for the info. Helpful.

Mountbatten doesn't have the typical 4 corners (180 degree turn) and 2 straights as the back straight is constantly curved. Cheers for the feedback though.

User avatar
GiantMike
Posts: 3162
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 09:41 am

Re: Course / Venue guides and reviews - what to expect, wher

Postby GiantMike » Sun Mar 18, 2012 21:39 pm

Tameside Cycle Track

Short (half a mile) twisty circuit including a hairpin. Narrow. Almost completely flat and quite quick on a good surface. Grass run off.
my power improvement experiment blog

Rule number 100: It's your bike and your money and your time; do what you like with it and ignore other peoples' rules. Except this one.

hammerite
Posts: 3275
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2007 20:29 pm

Re: Course / Venue guides and reviews - what to expect, wher

Postby hammerite » Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:08 pm

Good idea for a thread. I'll add to it. Could it be useful if people added either a Google map satellite link, or for on road an actual course map?

User avatar
Pross
Posts: 15204
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2009 10:32 am

Re: Course / Venue guides and reviews - what to expect, wher

Postby Pross » Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:24 pm

Llandow (15 miles west of Cardiff

A small motor racing circuit about 0.9m in length. The course is an oval with one 'proper' chicane that can be bypassed and another chicane that generally gets ridden straight if the bunch is strung out. The course gets run either way - clockwise gives a fairly long straight with a slight uphill finish whilst anti-clockwise the finish is quite close to the final bend and usually the first one into the bend wins (I think they usually bypass the chicane on the final lap when running that way but could be wrong!). The course is exposed and there is almost always a nasty wind.

Maindy

A 460m concrete velodrome that has some 'road races' run on it.

AlainR
Posts: 86
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 15:33 pm
Contact:

Re: Course / Venue guides and reviews - what to expect, wher

Postby AlainR » Mon Mar 19, 2012 20:53 pm

Pross wrote:Llandow (15 miles west of Cardiff

A small motor racing circuit about 0.9m in length. The course is an oval with one 'proper' chicane that can be bypassed and another chicane that generally gets ridden straight if the bunch is strung out. The course gets run either way - clockwise gives a fairly long straight with a slight uphill finish whilst anti-clockwise the finish is quite close to the final bend and usually the first one into the bend wins (I think they usually bypass the chicane on the final lap when running that way but could be wrong!). The course is exposed and there is almost always a nasty wind.

Maindy

A 460m concrete velodrome that has some 'road races' run on it.


Cheers - I've added them to the initial post with map images :)

hammerite
Posts: 3275
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2007 20:29 pm

Re: Course / Venue guides and reviews - what to expect, wher

Postby hammerite » Wed Mar 21, 2012 09:15 am

Milton Keynes Bowl

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&ll=52.018619,-0.758078&spn=0.00923,0.022724&t=h&z=16 (not sure how to embed the map image.

Generally a good tarmaced surface, used as a service road for a concert venue. There's a few configurations used. The kidney shaped circuit (0.6m) tends to be flat out the whole way with nothing to slow up for. It's raced in both directions, one direction has a short sharper (but not too sharp) incline, the other direction has a longer gentle drag. The finish line is always at the top of the climbs.

The other configurations happen when they "open the gates", which usually fills me with dread. One way you go out of gates at the bottom of the longer hill, 4 x 90 degree turns, on usually dodgy surface (leaves, twigs, bumpy, gritty/gravelly) on footpaths and across car park.

The other configuration the course goes out a gate at the top of the hill. I prefer this to the other, it's a good tarmacced surface (usually used for motorbike tuition). This section is usually pretty quick as it involves a gentle downhill, then has a couple of tight twists before going back through another set of gates and back on to the main circuit.
Last edited by hammerite on Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

DavidJB
Posts: 1721
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2011 07:38 am

Re: Course / Venue guides and reviews - what to expect, wher

Postby DavidJB » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:03 am

Mods this should be stickied!

User avatar
CakeLovinBeast
Posts: 287
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 08:58 am
Contact:

Re: Course / Venue guides and reviews - what to expect, wher

Postby CakeLovinBeast » Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:38 am

Ilton, Somerset

http://g.co/maps/z9sb9

A semi-active Fleet Air Arm airfield (RNAS Merryfield), races run in both directions around the access road. Overall length is nat's over 3 miles. Surface is in good condition, wide and predominantly flat, so average speeds are typically high. Due to the width and the lack of any serious corners, it doesn't really have the usually corner-sprint-regroup action that you get on twistier circuits. In quite an exposed location, so it's pretty common to have a head/cross wind blowing, making things difficult over sections of the course.

Link to Strava segment for the course: http://app.strava.com/segments/770190
Last edited by CakeLovinBeast on Wed Mar 21, 2012 14:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Twitter: @FunkyMrMagic

User avatar
Pross
Posts: 15204
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2009 10:32 am

Re: Course / Venue guides and reviews - what to expect, wher

Postby Pross » Wed Mar 21, 2012 14:48 pm

CakeLovinBeast wrote:Ilton, Somerset

http://g.co/maps/z9sb9

A semi-active Fleet Air Arm airfield (RNAS Merryfield), races run in both directions around the access road. Surface is in good condition, wide and predominantly flat, so average speeds are typically high. Due to the width and the lack of any serious corners, it doesn't really have the usually corner-sprint-regroup action that you get on twistier circuits. In quite an exposed location, so it's pretty common to have a head/cross wind blowing, making things difficult over sections of the course.

Link to Strava segment for the course: http://app.strava.com/segments/770190


Is that the same place as Yeovilton?

User avatar
CakeLovinBeast
Posts: 287
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 08:58 am
Contact:

Re: Course / Venue guides and reviews - what to expect, wher

Postby CakeLovinBeast » Wed Mar 21, 2012 15:06 pm

I honestly don't know, I've only *just* started racing. I had a quick look on the map, and whilst it's in the same general area, I think there's probably enough distance between the two for it to be a different venue.
Twitter: @FunkyMrMagic

Thick Tester
Posts: 371
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 16:11 pm

Re: Course / Venue guides and reviews - what to expect, wher

Postby Thick Tester » Wed Mar 21, 2012 17:48 pm

Darley Moor

Motorbike racing circuit in a semi extinct rural location. Pleasantly surrounded by a light aircraft and microlight runway and sheep farm to the centre of the circuit. Good Tarmac surface wide enough for an 80 bunch engines to sit pulling Lenny Henry faces at each other when being scared of doing a turn on the front. Occasional Chicanes are spiced up with tub and rim busting rumble strips and the width of the circuit allows adeaqute room for the landing of the Derbyshire Air ambulance after the invetiable bunch sprint crash. Has its own microclimate so winter and summer clothing is essential.

User avatar
Herbsman
Posts: 1940
Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 18:31 pm

Re: Course / Venue guides and reviews - what to expect, wher

Postby Herbsman » Thu Mar 22, 2012 13:14 pm

Sweet thread. Will add info for Stourport later.

hammerite
Posts: 3275
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2007 20:29 pm

Re: Course / Venue guides and reviews - what to expect, wher

Postby hammerite » Thu Mar 22, 2012 17:13 pm

Hogg Hill - http://g.co/maps/u9s8n Just in case no one has been there! Purpose built bike circuit, various configurations can be used. Bends are sweeping and can mostly be taken at speed, good tarmacced surface and wide. There is a hill that's short but sharp which can break things up a bit.

Hillingdon - http://g.co/maps/hq63f Another one that's popular. Purpose built bike circuit. Again fast bends, good tarmacced surface and wide. A very gentle rise that's hardly noticeable. The circuit is raced in both directions.

User avatar
Pross
Posts: 15204
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2009 10:32 am

Re: Course / Venue guides and reviews - what to expect, wher

Postby Pross » Thu Mar 22, 2012 17:17 pm

CakeLovinBeast wrote:I honestly don't know, I've only *just* started racing. I had a quick look on the map, and whilst it's in the same general area, I think there's probably enough distance between the two for it to be a different venue.


I'll be doing a few at Merryfield this season I think. Just been looking at the calendar and they have quite a few 4th cat only races I fancy trying.

hammerite
Posts: 3275
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2007 20:29 pm

Re: Course / Venue guides and reviews - what to expect, wher

Postby hammerite » Thu Mar 22, 2012 17:21 pm

East Bedford open road circuit. http://ridewithgps.com/routes/994437 this circuit is used for a few races each year. HQ is usually in the village of Cople with the start neutralised until through Cardington, or starting from the village of Old Warden with the start neutralised until just outside the village. A lap is 11.3 miles. Surface is like any typical country lanes, need to be wary by the side of the road for potholes, but it's not too bad. Grit/gravel can accumulate on some of the bends. Have to be careful of cars parked on the road in the village of Old Warden. Two hills, one is fairly gentle and over in a minute or two. The other is a bit steeper and longer, the finish line is at the top.

AlainR
Posts: 86
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 15:33 pm
Contact:

Re: Course / Venue guides and reviews - what to expect, wher

Postby AlainR » Thu Mar 22, 2012 21:32 pm

Cheers for the entries guys - I'll try and update the 1st post as we go so they're all up at the top :)

danowat
Posts: 2830
Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2010 13:58 pm

Re: Course / Venue guides and reviews - what to expect, wher

Postby danowat » Fri Mar 23, 2012 14:20 pm

Best course description I've read.....

BS19 TT course > http://www.timetriallingforum.co.uk/ind ... ntry925008

hammerite
Posts: 3275
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2007 20:29 pm

Re: Course / Venue guides and reviews - what to expect, wher

Postby hammerite » Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:27 pm

Cranfield circuit - open road. Tarmac surface is pretty good, the turn towards Cranfield is a bit rutted in places. 2.2 miles, 3 roads one flat, one downhill the other uphill. The uphill isn't bad at all, quite gentle gradient for about half a mile, but given the circuit is short you go up it a lot of times. It's quite exposed so you feel the wind quite a bit (usually pushing you up the hill), meaning a headwind into the finish line. http://ridewithgps.com/routes/1029465


Return to “Amateur Race”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest