The Rawlinson Bracket

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It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me, not long after we were lucky enough to be able to run the 2020 Edition of The Rawlinson Bracket amongst the weeks of heavy rain the global pandemic took hold in the UK. I hope all of you are well and have managed to stay healthy during the months of coronavirus since March.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our riders and our magnificent volunteers this year for helping us to raise £15,000! This brings us to a total of £96,000 that we’ve collectively raised for SADS UK! I would also like to say thanks for those riders that rode to our event to help reduce the use of the damp pitches at HQ (and help reduce our CO2 footprint).

Looking ahead to next year’s event it won’t surprise you to hear that the current situation with the pandemic in this country is making the organisation of TRB 2021 a challenge.

Until the latest lockdown, British Cycling had given the green light to run events with up to 600 riders but there is no guarantee that the COVID-19 situation in February 2021 will allow that.

I have given a lot of thought to how we could keep 600 riders safe, the start would require strict start times and separate starting areas (assuming that groups of 6 are allowed) but the risk comes with the finish where controlling the returning numbers would be difficult and we would be unable to offer an inside space for you to warm up and enjoy your cake and drink. We raise money for a charity that helps to save lives, I’m not willing to risk to the safety of our riders and volunteers if the risk of coronavirus infection is still present.

I wish to mark the original planned event date of the 27th of February 2021 to remember Nick and pay tribute to all of you that have helped raise such a remarkable amount for SADS UK. There are 10 hours and 44 minutes of daylight on the 27th. I will set off at sunrise from the start of the 2021 Top Bracket course and ride it as many times as I can until sunset. I may have convinced Chris Rawlinson to ride with me for at least some of the day and my good lady will be providing mobile refreshments. I will be setting up a charity giving page if you wish to sponsor me, it would be nice to hit the £100k total.

I know some of you out there will be inspired by this challenge, you are welcome to join me for some or all of the day, we’ll need to comply with any COVID-19 restrictions that are in force at the time but we’ll deal with that closer to the time. Please send an email to therawlobracket@gmail.com if you are interested in joining us and help us raise sponsorship for that ride.

We are still hopeful that we can run the Rawlinson Bracket at some point next year so please keep an eye on our website and FB page and Twitter feed. We can’t commit to anything until the COVID-19 situation allows for 600+ riders to gather safely.

Stay safe and I hope to see you all on your bikes soon.

Steve Jefferies and the TRB Team

History

The Rawlinson Bracket ride is a hilly ride in the ‘Wilds of Warwickshire’ taking in the gradients of the Edge Hill escarpment. This ride roughly marks the date of the departure of a close friend of ours, Nick, who passed away in his sleep on the 24th of February 2012, aged 30. 2020’s event marks eight years since Nick left us, our target is to take our fundraising total to over £75,000 and you can help us do this by getting on your bike and thumbing your nose at winter.

This event has two objectives – the first is to raise funds for research into, and awareness of, Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS), the second is to allow you to experience the type of riding that Nick enjoyed with a passion and to convince you that cycling is a year-round activity, even in this country!

Nick was a local lad, born and bred in Kenilworth and worked at JLR. Nick loved cycling, especially the suffering aspect. The Hilly Route goes over some of Nick’s favourite local climbs and training routes. He was using these roads in preparation for the Maratona dles Dolomites in July 2012 and his first season of road racing. He was a keen Strava member and follower of ‘The Rules’ (http://www.velominati.com) especially Rule#9. He was also the owner of one of the noisiest bikes I’ve ever come across, after several weeks of ‘swapagnostics’, it finally became clear that the bottom bracket was the culprit. That troublesome component lends its name to The Rawlinson Bracket.

ALL PROFITS FROM THIS EVENT WILL GO TO THE SADS UK CHARITY (http://sadsuk.org.uk).

The Routes

There are two routes available – the “Top Bracket” is 93km in length and has 985+ meters of climbing with gradients of 14%+ in places, the “Bottom Bracket” is 55km in length and has 368 meters of climbing with gentle gradients. 

The course will be signposted and there is a feed station on the hilly route. There is ample car parking at the start and finish along with toilets and refreshments.

There is a goody bag for all finishers.

Top Bracket

This year’s hilly route, the Top Bracket, is 93km in length and has over 900 meters of climbing packed into it. We have a new venue this year, the kind people at Harbury RFC have provided with their facilities for event day.

Think of it as a mini Liege-Bastogne-Liege in terms of gradient and length of climb. Here are some of the climbs you will encounter –

Climb#1 Burton Dassett – A short climb where you will find it difficult to stay out of the red, 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 we can’t guarantee any screaming Belgian cycling fans.

Climb#3 Edge Hill (Knowle Hill) – This climbs 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.

Climb#4 Winderton Hill – A picturesque climb through a Cotswold hamlet, enjoy the scenery – imagine you’re climbing the Côte de La Redoute.

Climb#5 Lady Elizabeth Hill – An undulating climb to rob your legs of their remaining freshness before the final climb.

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.

Here is the 2020 Top Bracket route:

If the button opens the file in a new window, try right-clicking and selecting the download option.

Bottom Bracket

The flatter route, the Bottom Bracket, is 55km in length and has 368 gentle metres of climbing. To me, this one is reminiscent of the rolling fields of northern France, a little Paris-Roubaix but without the cobbles. Nick and I used this route for riding endurance miles in winter. This is ideal terrain for all cycling abilities.

Here’s the 2020 Bottom Bracket route:

If the button opens the file in a new window, try right-clicking and selecting the download option.

How to enter 

See latest news section above for the latest on the 2021 edition.

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