The Garmin Ride Out is an annual sportive in the New Forest, located in between the cities of Southampton and Bournemouth in southern England. Due to the protected status of the natural area, participants are limited to around 800 cyclists, creating a personal and intimate feel to a sportive that allows you to ride alongside WorldTour cyclists.
I chose to ride the event on my long-term test bike, a Curve Belgie Ti Disc, equipped with a Campagnolo H11 disc groupset and Campagnolo Bora One wheels.
- The Course: Garmin Ride Out sportive, 80km/50 miles, 625m/2,000ft elevation, rolling roads through the New Forest in Hampshire, UK (my Strava from the day)
- The Horse: Curve Belgie Ti Disc with Campagnolo H11 disc groupset, 52/36 & 11-27, Campagnolo Bora One 35 wheels, Veloflex Corsa 28mm clinchers, Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 pedals, Garmin Edge 1030 computer and GoPro Hero 4 Session
- The Goal: Enjoy a relaxed sportive without taking down any pros!
Relax! It’s not a race…
Although one of the key draws for some to the Garmin Ride Out is the opportunity to ride alongside WorldTour professionals, the event — as with most sportives — is by no means a race, and the New Forest parcours seem to encourage a more relaxed type of riding.
The rolling roads through heathland, villages and wooded areas are mostly unenclosed pasture land with free-roaming horses, cattle and other animals.
Big groups formed in the earlier part of the ride and WorldTour pros were happily mixed into the groups Josh Evans/Immediate Media
There was a fair amount of traffic on the road throughout the route, combined with the eight cattle grids and the free-roaming animals, so I did need to keep my eyes peeled for hazards.
Traffic and animals aside, the Hampshire scenery is truly stunning and a unique riding environment. The course features no real climbing challenges apart from a few short, steep ramps, so the total of 624m/2,047ft elevation over the 80km/50mile route never felt like too much of a challenge.
Plush titanium for rolling roads
The Garmin Ride Out is a great event Josh Evans/Immediate Media
The Curve Belgie Ti Disc is my first foray into titanium. Titanium frames have a reputation for offering a greater deflection than alloy or steel, and the Curve Belgie Ti Disc lived up to these characteristics with a smooth and comfortable ride.
Although the bike offers a certain level of plushness while riding, it can feel less responsive and slower to accelerate than an alloy or carbon frame. However, by gradually increasing power and cadence the bike slowly comes to life, and once up and running, the Curve Belgie Ti Disc will comfortably roll along and cruise at upwards of 30km/h with minimal effort.
Veloflex Corsa 28mm clincher tyres offered plenty of comfort and grip on the occasionally broken and gravelly Hampshire roads Josh Evans/Immediate Media
I set the 28mm Veloflex Corsa clincher tyres to about 80psi, which struck a near perfect balance for the ride. Like the frameset, they feel like they take a moment to get moving, but once they, they hold speed well.
The wider tyres were also a benefit while riding with a group of strangers, taking on the inevitable gravel patches and small potholes that weren’t pointed out without a wobble.
While the plush titanium frame and 28mm tyres offered plenty of comfort, the Campagnolo Bora One 35 carbon-rimmed wheels offered stiffness and a semi-aero package. This resulted in a well-balanced ride and will have certainly contributed to the 32kph/19mph speed I averaged over the 80km/50-mile route.
The rims on the Campagnolo Bora One wheels measure 24.2mm externally and are specifically designed to work with both 25mm and 28mm tyres.
Campagnolo H11/Super Record combination
When Campagnolo launched its first disc groupset last year, the crankset and levers would be Campagnolo’s non-series H11 component model regardless of groupset choice. However, for the company’s recently released and updated 12-speed groupsets, the H11 components have been ousted for groupset series-specific cranksets and lever models — excluding Chorus which retains the H11 components.
My Curve Belgie Ti Disc long-termer was specced before the launch of Campagnolo’s 12-speed groupsets, so was equipped with a combination of Campagnolo H11 and regular Super Record mechanical components.
Despite the dry conditions, it wasn’t a completely clean affair Josh Evans/Immediate Media
On the Curve, a gearing combination of 52/36 and 11-27 offered ample range and the 52t outer chainring and cassette were enough for the majority of the route.
The 36×27 combination was welcomed on Blissford Hill at around the 50km/31-mile mark. With a 16 percent average gradient — and peaking at 25 percent — I was able to spin away on the short but sharp climb.
The Campagnolo H11 disc-specific crankset was designed to have realigned chainrings, which account for the slightly different geometries of disc brake framesets versus rim brake framesets and claims to improve chain line.
This 2.5mm of chainring alignment change did not result in any obvious differences to a regular crankset while riding, with the H11 decal on the crank arm versus the usual Super Record decals being the only visible difference. Campagnolo Super Record front derailleur shifting with the H11 crankset was consistent and accurate.
Shifting on the Super Record rear derailleur with Campagnolo’s H11 disc-specific levers felt clunky at times, especially if you’re used to the latest offerings from Shimano, but the gear changes were always accurate and the inboard shift button for the thumb allows for a large cassette jump in one movement, which when cresting a hill can be useful.
With a ride number and GoPro, my cockpit was a little overcrowded Josh Evans/Immediate Media
I ran my usual Garmin Edge 1030 computer with an XL K-Edge out-front mount. Although the route was clearly signposted throughout, I’d loaded the course via a GPX file ahead of the ride and, knowing I was unlikely to need to stop or refuel, I used the navigation screen for the entire ride.
Beginning on around 75 percent battery and using the full navigation, I finished the ride on roughly 50 percent battery and have used it since on several rides without charging the unit. The claimed 20 hours battery life of the Garmin Edge 1030 will always depend on feature usage, but for a one-day event there is no fear of running out of battery in unfamiliar territory.
Garmin Ride Out: more than just another sportive
The New Forest offers rolling terrain through open plains and heavily wooded areas Josh Evans/Immediate Media
The Garmin Ride Out is all in aid of Action Medical Research, which finds and funds the best research to help sick and disabled children in the UK.
Around 50 riders at a time were sent off to get the Garmin Ride Out underway. After sitting in a group of around twenty or so riders, until the mid-point food and water stop, I decided to roll through without stopping due to the fairly short distance of the event.
Soon enough, I was joined by another rider who had made the same decision and it didn’t take long until ‘Humph’ — short for Humphries — and I got ourselves roped into a two-up time trial for the final hour or so of riding.
Humph and me post ride Garmin Ride Out
Humph and I chose to press on and enjoyed a fast finish to what is a great route in some stunning English countryside.
The Garmin Ride Out is a perfect example of a well-organised sportive, with nearly all aspects of the event considered. Limited participant numbers, along with the opportunity to ride with professionals, and in a special area of a stunning national park, contributed to a relatively short but thoroughly enjoyable day getting used to the Campagnolo-equipped Curve Belgie Ti Disc.
A thorough, long-term review of the bike will be published in the coming months.