The Essex 100 Bike Ride is organised by Action Medical Research and is one in a series of bike rides put on to raise money for this charity. The Essex 100 starts and finishes in Central Park in Chelmsford and takes in the beautiful scenery and quiet country lanes of rural north Essex.
There are three distances to choose from - 101 miles, 60 miles, or 40 miles - and all participants receive a finisher's medal. I decided to sign up for the 60-mile ride as part of my preparation for next year's Prudential RideLondon event which is 100 miles. I decided that if I could survive 60 miles in the saddle and finish with a smile on my face, I could survive 100 miles.
From start to finish, this event was incredibly well organised. The pre-event race information emailed to each competitor contained all information needed and there was free event parking which was a nice touch. The registration process was very smooth and so quick that before I knew it, I was listening to the race brief and heading out onto the road.
The route was excellently executed and planned very well. Signage was very clear and at no point did I worry that I'd gone the wrong way, even without other cyclists around to assure me. Most of the roads were traffic-free as they were such small and unused country lanes and this made for some very effortless cycling and gave me the opportunity to enjoy the scenery.
There were a few hairy moments, such as a long stretch of road with loose gravel and some sharp bends and steep descents, but for most cyclists this would be standard practice. Even coming back into busy central Chelmsford was fairly uneventful, despite the traffic.
I'd also say this ride was quite 'easy' (as easy as spending 4 hours on a bike can be) due to the gentle elevation profile. There weren't any big climbs but I would definitely say the route is undulating - I was shifting gears every few minutes to accommodate for the continuous ups and downs. I'd certainly say that this route is beginner-friendly and any cyclist would be able to complete it.
The only thing I would say about this ride compared to the other sportives I've done is that because there weren't that many participants, it got a little lonely out there! I spent most of the course by myself whereas in other rides I've had a constant stream of other cyclists around me. This wasn't something I minded though.
This ride was hugely enjoyable and from start to finish it was very obvious how well organised and friendly it was. The feed zones/rest stops were very well placed and there was ample opportunity to sit down, rest, use the facilities, and fill up water bottles and refuel. Everyone taking part was in very good spirits and I would definitely recommend this event to others.
Date: 20th July 2019
Location: Ongar Leisure Centre, The Gables, Fyfield Rd, Chipping Ongar, Essex, CM5 0GA
Event Type and Distance: Triathlon 300m pool swim - 21km cycle - 4km run
Amenities: Novice friendly, pool swim, chip timing, shortened course, toilets, showers, catering
Entry Price: From £42
Try a Tri is an introductory event specifically designed for novice triathletes. The course is a 300m pool swim in Ongar leisure centre, a 21km scenic bike ride through the glorious Essex countryside, and finishing with a 4km run on flat, grassy ground.
Date: 14th July 2019
Location: Fambridge Yacht Station, Ferry Road, North Fambridge, Essex
Event Type and Distance: Middle distance triathlon 1.9km Swim / 90km Cycle / 18km Run
Amenities: Free camping to all competitors, BBQ, chip timing, Sports massage, wetsuit hire, Trophies for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd male and female, medals for all competitors
Entry Price: From £91
The Fambridge Half Iron Triathlon is the premier Half Ironman event in Essex and London.It starts and finishes at Fambridge Yacht Station on the River Crouch. North Fambridge is a charming and peaceful village and there is plenty to do with Maldon, Chelmsford, Basildon, and Burnham on Crouch all nearby. The area is rich with wildlife and Blue House Farm Nature Reserve is well worth a visit. For those who enjoy walking, you can follow the sea wall to the historic town of Burnham on Crouch, get the train back and grab something to eat at The Ferry Boat Inn.
Athletes will be swimming in the River Crouch. Participants will get to enjoy the quiet, scenic roads of the Dengie Peninsula on the bike section of the race. The running course is situated around the Fambridge Village; it's recommended that friends and family stay in this area as this is where the spectators gather. The running course is also lined with aid stations providing various energy bars and drinks. The Ferry Boat Inn will also provide refreshments and a BBQ at the finish line.
Date: Sunday 12th May 2019
Location: Ashingdon Primary Academy, Ashingdon Road, Rochford, Essex
Event Type and Distance: 10k run
Amenities: Toilets, Chip timing, Post-race massage
Entry Price: £14
The Rochford 10k is a scenic and pleasant 10k run around the sleepy town of Rochford in Essex. Taking place on a mix of roads, farm tracks, and grassland, this race is fairly unique. It is a fairly small event, run by Rochford Running Club and the first event took place in 2015. The 2017 event introduced chip timing for the first time. Dependant on the weather, this event can be fairly tricky with the off-road course, but it is always an enjoyable event.
For more information on this event and to enter, please visit http://www.rochfordrunningclub.org.uk/
Date: 7th & 8th September 2019
Location: Holland Haven Country Park, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, CO15 5UB
Event Type and Distance: Off-Road Standard, Sprint, and Super Sprint Triathlon
Amenities: Chip timing, secure transition, paid parking, medals, prizes
Entry Price: From £38
The Clacton Triathlon is in its 19th year and will see athletes compete in aid of the Brain & Spine Foundation; they have raised around £90,000 for the charity so far which is a fantastic effort.
On Saturday there is an off-road Sprint Triathlon and an off-road Super Sprint Triathlon. On Sunday, the event is a Standard (Olympic) Distance Triathlon meaning it consists of a 1500m swim, a 40km bike, and a 10km run.
The swim is an open sea swim starting in waist-deep water. The competitors will swim out and around fixed markers. Full safety cover is provided.
The Standard Distance bike section takes racers around rural and country roads. The Sprint and Super Sprint are 'off road' bike courses. All course directions will be fully displayed en route.
The run will take competitors along the promenade and seafront paths between Holland Haven and Clacton Pier with great views of the beautiful seaside town.