Look­ing Ahead

June 27, 2020

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - THE CALENDAR - Reg­gie Ram­ble

With about 10 km to go in the 130-km route of the Reg­gie Ram­ble, there’s an in­cline that rid­ers don’t see un­til it’s too late. They cruise along a flat dirt track through a swamp, but there’s a gravel wall hid­den in the trees. When they get to it, their legs are al­ready cooked. They get am­bushed.

“I wanted the Ram­ble to be hard, but fun,” said or­ga­nizer Jeff Wills. He set out the routes not only with ge­og­ra­phy in mind, but rider psy­chol­ogy, as well. The first edi­tion of the gravel event ran in Septem­ber 2019. From the feed­back Wills has re­ceived from some of the 130 par­tic­i­pants, he suc­ceeded. The am­bushes made the routes chal­leng­ing. They were part of the fun, too.

An­other novel fea­ture of the Ram­ble’s routes is how they all weave back to the start at the Wark­worth, Ont., fair­grounds. Rid­ers of the 200-km, 130-km or 65-km routes have stag­gered starts. They all come back to the fair­grounds af­ter 65 km. The long-dis­tance rid­ers keep go­ing on the sec­ond loop. Once the 130-km rid­ers re­turn, they’re done, while the 200-km folks keep ped­alling. The ad­van­tage of this setup is that rid­ers are never more than 35 km from the fin­ish if they have to end things early. Also, there’s ac­tiv­ity at the start/fin­ish through­out day. “In 2020, we’re hop­ing to build out with fair­grounds with more at­trac­tions to draw in the com­mu­nity and build up the at­mos­phere for the rid­ers even more,” Wills said.

The at­mos­phere in 2019 was ac­tu­ally pretty good. In fact, it might have posed a bit of a chal­lenge for rid­ers who had to pass through the start/fin­ish on their way to their sec­ond or third loops. “It can be a bit of a mind game when you come through,” Wills said. “You just killed your­self for about three hours and then you have to go back out and do it again. Mean­while, the bar­be­cues are go­ing and the free beer is there.” That could be tough, psy­cho­log­i­cally. But it’s part of the fun. ( reg­gier­am­ble.com)— MP

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