Thousands brave storm-hit Northumberland for Cyclone Challenge

Tough northerners head out as soon as storms and floods clear

by Sarah Barth   July 2, 2012  

Cyclone Challenge riders receive medals

The weather cleared up in the North East this weekend, just in time for the appropriately-named Virgin Money Cyclone Challenge.

The family-friendly Tyne 6 Bridges Ride had to be cancelled as lightning was striking the Tyne bridge and a huge volume of rain fell on Thursday, submerging cars and flooding homes.

The other events carried on though, including the Cyclone Challenge, in which more than 3,000 cyclists dodged gravel and debris on the roads to take part on 33, 63 and 104-mile routes through Northumberland.

The riders were joined by pros from Rapha Condor Sharp and Team Raleigh-GAC, and there was no shortage of elite action. On Friday, Rapha Condor Sharp rider Richard Lang sprinted to victory in the elite category of the Leazes Criterium, and on Sunday Endura Racing rider Russell Downing won the Beaumont Trophy Premier Calendar elite road race in its 60th year.

Road.cc reader Brian Nichol wrote after the Cyclone Challenge: "Weather stayed nice and clear throughout and those gravelly roads were not too bad really.

"First time I have done this ride, after missing out last year... and I was impressed with the organisation of everything, and the feed stations were very well stocked."

6 user comments

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the roads weren't that bad, it was the headwind that was brutal. The biggest danger was, as ever, the dodgy mix of fair weather trundlers and overconfident, under skilled MAMIL weekend warriors. What's that? Blind sharp left hander at the bottom of a hill? covered in stones and potholes? yes that would be a fantastic place for you and your mate to overtake - but wait... oh my, you appeared to overshot and landed in the ditch. Never mind, I'm sure you can polish out the scratches on your Cervelo as you push it up the next hill.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [795 posts]
2nd July 2012 - 13:20

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I agree. Roads were OK apart from the closed lane north of Otterburn where the road fell into the ditch.

I think a few MAMILs discovered on Saturday that really expensive Lightweights or Cosmic Carbones aren't always the right choice when it's blowing a gale.

Thanks to some of the GS Metro lads for dragging me around for a bit.

arrieredupeleton

posted by arrieredupeleton [551 posts]
2nd July 2012 - 13:58

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I had a really enjoyable ride, apart from the chuffin' headwind...

The gravel was a bit of a blighter. There was some pretty unwise overtaking going off, and I felt myself tensing up on other people's behalf sometimes. More than once there was someone who'd over-cooked it in a hedge.

I was on the 65 miler, and I really enjoyed the Ryals, and am proud to say I got up 'em both!! Wahay! Big Grin

Pedant mode: By the way, the picture caption. The rider's aren't getting medals, the staff are "blipping" timing chips...Pedant mode off! Smile

Ooooh, me legs...

posted by Oh heck... [47 posts]
2nd July 2012 - 14:29

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oh yeah, I saw a few people heading sideways when the wind caught them. Skinny rims for the win.

Also saw a couple of people pushing their bike with a wrecked tubular or two - what were they thinking? Clearly not au fait with the Northumberland craterscape.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [795 posts]
2nd July 2012 - 16:03

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joemmo wrote:
oh yeah, I saw a few people heading sideways when the wind caught them. Skinny rims for the win.

Also saw a couple of people pushing their bike with a wrecked tubular or two - what were they thinking? Clearly not au fait with the Northumberland craterscape.

Tubs? I assume their team car was following?

Keep talking down Northumberland. We don't want the Great British public knowing how great it is. Some hard men of the road up that way as well.

arrieredupeleton

posted by arrieredupeleton [551 posts]
2nd July 2012 - 17:12

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Did the 104 mile route. Even as a local rider I was surprised at how much tougher it is than the 63 mile route (which I did as my first event two years ago). Headwind was tough but comes with the territory up here. Lots of riders not moderating their speed for the gravel and potholes - was surprised not to see any accidents.

lukea-d

posted by lukea-d [32 posts]
3rd July 2012 - 0:14

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