The Rawlinson Bracket
Event: 23 February 2014
In 2013 the event raised £4,200 for the SADS UK charity for them to continue to save lives, providing information, funding research and medical equipment to prevent premature sudden cardiac death.
292 brave souls arrived in conditions typical of an early season northern European classic – cold and windy. This didn’t seem to be dampening anyone’s spirits although the riders did seem to be keen to get down the road rather than listening to me wax lyrical about the areas of interest on the course. The course was dry after several days of a bitter northerly wind but some dandruff-like snow did make an appearance to remind all that this was a winter sportive.
Our first riders back were directed to the free tea and coffee and warmth of event HQ. Based on the riders’ responses that I received on their return it looks as though the respective courses achieved their desired objectives, the majority of Bottom Bracket riders commented on the scenic nature of the route whilst there were several comments regarding the difficulty of the climbs on the Top Bracket.
After the success of the first event the organising team are honoured to be running the second edition of The Rawlinson Bracket on 23 February 2014. The routes retain their character but with the addition of electronic course timing and some new rider prize categories that reflect Nick’s sense of humour and his love of ‘The Rules’.
The Rawlinson Bracket ride is a hilly ride in the ‘Wilds of Warwickshire’ taking in the gradients of the Edge Hill escarpment. This ride marks two years since Nick Rawlinson, passed away in his sleep on 24February 2012, aged 30.
This event has two objectives - the first is to raise funds for research into, and awareness of, Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) for the cardiac charity SADS UK, the second is to allow fellow riders to experience the type of riding that Nick enjoyed with a passion.
He was using these roads in preparation for the Maratonadles Dolomites in July 2012 and for his first season of road racing.The hilly route (The Top Bracket) is 80km in length and has over 870 meters of climbing packed into it. Think of it as a mini Liege-Bastogne-Liege in terms of gradient and length of climb. Here are the main climbs you will encounter -
Climb 1 Burton Dassett – A short climb where you will find it difficult to stay out of the red but it’s a good way to get those climbing muscles warm, you will have an audience on the way up, the sheep are always curious.
Climb 2 Shotteswell – The rural version of the Côte de Saint-Nicolas, a short steep climb encompassed by houses but no screaming Belgian cycling fans (possibly). The picture below was taken during a route recce a month before last year’s event.
Climb 3 Edge Hill (also known as Knowle Hill) – This climb appears in ‘Another 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs’ by Simon Warren. It’s only 600m in length but has a maximum gradient of 14% which makes for a gruelling climb. Nick enjoyed this one and always found some extra power to sprint over the top. This hill appears three times in the Banbury Star Road Race which Nick and I were targeting for the 2012 racing season.
Climb 4 Lady Elizabeth Hill – A relatively long steady climb to allow you to settle in a rhythm (unlike the proceeding climbs).
Climb 5 Compton Winyates Hill – Another relatively long climb with some interesting kicks, enjoy the scenery – imagine you’re climbing the Côte de La Redoute.
Climb 6 Sunrising Hill – Same height gain as the Edge Hill climb but a different character, a max gradient of 16% and a rough road surface make for an attritional climb with an alpine style switch-back at half-way. Nick would always smash his way up this climb. At this year’s event a friend of mine told me that he could hear riders exclaiming ‘that’s not a climb! It’s a wall!’
For those that don’t wish to test themselves too early in the season there is a second route on the day - the flat route (The Bottom Bracket) is 45km in length and has 276 gentle meters of climbing. To some this one is reminiscent of the rolling fields of northern France, a little Paris-Roubaix but without the cobbles. Nick used this route as his endurance building route in preparation for circuit racing.
And finally - Get your entry in! - The entry price is lower the earlier you enter: Breakaway (early) entry is open until 7 January 2014, Peloton Entry (at the standard price) is open until 9 February 2014 and Lantern Rouge entry (last-minute entry) prices will be charged until entry closes on 16 February 2014 or until the event sells out. Prices as follows:
Breakaway Price: Top Bracket £17.50 / Bottom Bracket £10.00
Peloton Price: Top Bracket £20.00 / Bottom Bracket £12.50
Lantern Rouge Price: Top Bracket £25.00 / Bottom Bracket £17.50