Somerset Hills Gran Fondo

Sunday May 4th 2014

The Somerset Hills Gran Fondo's official video by 98 Vision - Watch on Vimeo

The Cheddar team who organised the Somerset Hills Gran Fondo for the past three years are excited to announce that we shall be “doing it all again” for 2014.  Our date for next year is Sunday 4th May 2014. 

Somerset Gran Fondo riders

Thanks to your suggestions we were able to improve our signage, feed stations and mechanical support. For the first time we used number boards to identify all our riders for safety, and to make sure all support and facilities were exclusive to you. We changed some of the routes to reduce main roads and towns and from the positive feed back this did not go unnoticed. We aim to use the same routes for 2014, but you can be reassured that we will be researching any alternatives to improve it even more

The 86km Piccolo Fondo proved to be very popular, especially for new and beginner riders. It is our intention to include this popular route for 2014.

Event Report:

Somerset Hills Gran Fondo 5th May 2013

The S.H.G.F. was singularly the most satisfying and pleasurable event to run. With my regular, reliable and down right determined crew we were able to satisfy all the participants that attended our sportive. This was the third year of the s.h.g.f. originally called the Cheddar Challenge sportive so called after our pedigree for running the annual Cheddar Challenge Mountain Bike race held in Cheddar for twenty two years.

At “Broadway House Holiday Park” we had hosted over fifty events for many thousands of competitors in nearly all the disciplines of B.M.X. Mountain Biking, Downhill racing, Trials and eight “un-competitive” Sportive’s, but it has to be said the best remarks from our latest sportive produced the most “great event, well organised” comments, all of which we were very grateful for.

The fact is we spent many months, weeks, day’s and hours, not to mention sleepless nights, planning and re-planning, and constantly honing the details to produce what we imagined would satisfy all our riders. Already we have several “post mortem” reports in from our volunteers, ready for consideration, to make it even better for 2014. Our aim is to keep the entry fee down yet produce a memorable challenge for all.

This year, surprisingly, the weather was superb, the day started warm, gently increasing in temperature until at midday we were enjoying beautiful and balmy conditions reminisant of summer events in previous years. There is no doubt, this fact alone helped incredibly towards everyone having a good ride. I have never seen so many happy faces even when tackling “Crowcombe climb”, Somerset’s Hard Knot Pass, after riders had been “in the saddle” for 124k on the Gran Fondo and 78k on the Medio Fondo; only riders taking part in the Piccolo event escaped this discipline. Every participant had their fare share of climbs, descents, and miles of flat tarmac to recover, enjoying great views and a route lacking in vehicles thanks to improvements in the roads and country lanes used this year.

As the riders returned they all helped themselves to tea, coffee and a selection of sixty gateaux waiting for them under cover in our marquee, most however sprawled out on the grass making the most of the sunshine. The day was over; people returned to their cars, loaded their bikes and left with the biggest cheesy (cheddar) smiles on their faces. I know they all had fun because everybody finished, the broom wagons were empty, a sure sign that all went well. All that was left to do was to thank all the helpers and volunteers who made the day so great. It would not have been a success without the first aiders, paramedics, tech support guys, admin ladies, feed stop staff and marshalls; my thanks go out to all of them. Let’s hope this was one ride everybody will remember.

Just for fun here is some interesting stats;

  • We put up and took down 428 arrows (signs) in four days
  • Over 700 zip ties
  • 522 cars parked within a maximum of 350 meters from the sign on
  • 60 gateaux’s, or 1,100 portions, consumed by riders returning
  • 1,400 bananas, polished off at feed stops
  • 840 pieces of fresh orange
  • 12 kilo’s of peanuts
  • 6 kilo’s of raisins
  • 2,000 sachet’s of salt
  • 944 energy bars
  • 1,354 flap jacks, caramel shortcakes. rocky roads!
  • 2,080 assorted muffins
  • 1,040 sausage rolls
  • 640 tuc biscuits
  • 60 pints of milk for finisher’s tea and coffee
  • The roving tech support covered 206 miles during the event
  • The total distance cycled by our participants = 113,524k
  • Distance covered marking out and clearing down, over 600 miles
  • The total distance cycled by our participants = 113,524k
  • Or the distance equates to cycling around the earth 2.83 times or cycling around the moon 10.40 times……Ouch!!
  • Or, if you really need to know cycling from Lands End to John O’Groats 59.75 times or indeed the Great Wall of China 2.83 times
  • Staggering, all that attention to detail………just for you

Already we are planning for 2014, we invite all our participants to return and bring a couple of friends with you. Well done to all of you.

- David R Moore

Somerset Hills Gran fondo Sportive
Web site - Tom Tookey