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Course Preview: The Bastion
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Thursday 4th June 2015


Tags  Bastion  |  Hever Castle  |  The Bastion


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The Bastion - 12th July 2015: Course Preview

The iron-distance Bastion Triathlon made its debut in 2014 at Hever Castle, where the challenging course was conquered by elite athletes Fraser Cartmell and Alice Hector - revisit the report HERE.

The event returns for 2015 on Sunday 12th July (entries still available), and to preview the event, we sent Richard Campbell to The Bastion 'ride out' to preview the course for us. If you are racing - or considering it - this is what awaits you...


Designed by an ex-Royal Marine, each leg of The Bastion iron-distance triathlon (www.castletriathlonseries.co.uk), has been carefully planned to offer the ultimate challenge for both newcomers to long-distance triathlon and experienced long-course hands, ensuring that there will be plenty of drama played out over the day and across the 140.6 mile course.

As if a 180km bike leg in an iron-distance race wasn't hard enough, The Bastion course has been plotted with just under 3,000 metres of ascent and represents one of the toughest long courses in the UK. The bike course is the jewel in The Bastion's Hever Castle-themed crown.

The Bastion

Forewarned is forearmed and a recce of the bike course is very much recommended, so alongside the official cycling partners for The Bastion and the Hever Castle Triathlons, VO2 Cycling, competitors and interested triathletes joined former pro cyclist Jimmy George for a recce of the course they will face on the 12th July 2015 in the second edition of this race.

Starting and finishing at Hever Castle in Kent, this is a three-lap affair with each lap counted as 60 kilometres long and taking in some of the stunning sites of the Weald and Ashdown Forest – an ‘area of outstanding beauty'.

The BastionIt's reputation for difficulty was well deserved as even Jimmy George, owner of VO2 Cycling said afterwards:

"It's a hard route with plenty of hills"

Still, on this morning the sun was shining and we hadn't tackled our first hill of the day yet so off the group went with smiles on their faces and looking forward to the day ahead. The ride-out began from the VO2 Cycling headquarters in Hildenborough, Kent with a short ride over to Hever Castle where we began the ride proper. It was the perfect opportunity to view some of the lovely looking performance road and TT bikes and hear a bit more about how VO2 Cycling provide a unique fit service and offer quality British customer service. I was riding a VO2:Pro:Carbon myself and would soon be impressed with the super responsive stiff frame. It was reassuring to discover that Jimmy and his team of mechanics would be on hand at The Bastion on race day to provide any last minute bike-care and adjustments as well as have their fleet of bikes on display.

The Bastion

Once the group arrived at Hever Castle we started our ride. The circular route itself took us out of Hever Castle, up through the High Weald of Kent before passing through and over the Ashdown Forest and into the village of Maresfield. Those familiar with the various bike courses at the Hever Castle Triathlons which attract thousands, will know all about the sharp climbs out of the Castle and the longer drags past Hartfield and up into the forest, and this course is very similar at this stage so I was ready for it. At the start of a one-lap 60km ride it was tough – after a swim and being on the second and third time you will need to be seriously ready. Gear selection, fitness, pacing and nutrition will all play a big part in successfully completing the challenge.

After a quick tour of the village, the group followed the course and retrace their steps to the top of the forest before returning to Hever via the historic and quintessentially English villages of Groombridge, Fordcombe and Penshurst.

Plenty of sharp climbs but what goes up comes down and there is certainly opportunity for ‘free speed' and recovery on this course.

The Bastion

We completed the lap but decided against another. 60km was enough for one day and it was time to save the big efforts for the training ahead and of course race day. Everyone was very enthused about the course, its stunning natural beauty and the event as a whole and will be looking forward to race day.

Despite the fearsome looking course profile, competitors from the 2014 event rated it as one of the best cycle courses they had taken on with many returning for 2015 and we agreed. The event has a few remaining spaces and it is well worth adding this iron-distance race to your calendar this year.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL CYCLE ROUTE MAP

You can enter The Bastion here: www.castletriathlonseries.co.uk/races/the-bastion-full-iron-distance/

For more information on VO2 Cycling, visit: www.vo2cycling.co.uk


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