Welcome To The Bowland Badass

What is the Bowland Badass?

The Bowland Badass is a torturous 167-mile cloverleaf-shaped route that begins and ends in Garstang, dipping and diving up and down an almost seemingly endless succession of hills, all within the Forest of  Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (including Pendle Forest). With over 18,500 feet (over 5500 metres) of ascent, this fiendish route criss-crosses some of the most scenic countryside that Lancashire has to offer in a relentless series of punishing climbs, the rare flat sections few and far between. Pushed up against yourself and your ability to endure, you suffer and smile, pedalling onwards into darkness. Can you do it? Of course you can, or you can certainly bust your guts trying……….

Originally envisaged as a club ride by some members of a local cycling club, the Badass was first completed in the summer of 2011 by nine foolhardy riders. The inaugral running of the Bowland Badass 2012 came and went in a blur of bhajis, burnished sun beams, and harrowing exhaustion……Success!! It was such a blast that we have decided to throw it open again to a limited number of all comers on the 6th July 2013. For the cheap and cheerful cost of £10, you’ll get to become a Bowland Badass.

So what do I get for my tenner?

First of all, it is not just a sportive. It is a largely self-supporting challenge ride. Your money will go on insurance (for us) and some food (for you). Yes, a kind, local benefactor has laid on two vans that will be parked at strategic points along the route with food and water. You will sign in at the start point, and sign out at the finish point and be given a completion time. You might even have to sign in at the two van stations if we can be bothered. We will ensure you have completed the ride with the time-honoured method of checking your bike computer to see you’ve got more or less the required mileage, and believing you when you say you have done it. In summary therefore, you get:

  • NEW for this year…a number for your bike!
  • A link to an electronic map and/or we send you a GPX file for your Garmin.
  • A set of instructions that you can follow
  • Arrow signs/painted arrows at strategic points/changes of direction 
  • A beautiful ride along largely car free roads and lots of empty sky above you (though we don’t guarantee the colour or moisture levels)
  • Insurance cover (in addition to your own, which we presume you have as a matter of course).
  • A couple of vans with some food and water (do not rely on these solely for your sustenance however because once we’ve spent your tenner that’s it, and if you follow a strict nutrition/hydration/beauty regime then bring your powders, potions and lotions with you)
  • A few cafes/shops along the way where you’ll be able to forage for all those extra calories you will most certainly need (you’ll require money for this)
  • A few riders out there who’ve done it before, know the roads, and whom you can follow at a gasping distance/ride along with/blast into the weeds like the vermin that they are (depending on preference)
  • Signing in/out
  • Start/finish point with a time given
  • A story to tell the grandkids

You do NOT get:

  •  Mechanical help (though there might be a track pump and a few grubby tools in each of the vans)
  • Motorcycle outriders (the only motorcyclists you’ll see are local clubs out for a burn up)
  • Police cover (though it is said that there are some policemen in the Lancashire area from time to time).
  • Medical assistance (St. Johnis not our patron saint, it is St. Billy No Mates)
  • Sag wagon (if you have either a mechanical problem or a cardiac arrest you’ll be making your own way home, and public transport/mobile phone coverage is a tad sketchy in Bowland)
  • Electronic timing/numbers (this might be nice, but it costs money and needs organisation, neither of which we possess in the required amounts)
  • T-shirt/participants pack (if you want a t-shirt, a crumpled packet of gel and a bunch of useless leaflets to chuck on the fire we suggest you stump up £30 and go and do a “proper sportive” and wait in a queue for 3 hours at the end along with 50,000 other people)

It sounds tough……why should I do it?

If you want to do it precisely because it sounds tough, then this is the ride for you. It’s an old-fashioned event in the audax/reliability ride style. If you’re thinking “Ride 167 miles AND have to carry a pie!” then don’t bother entering. If you can get up tomorrow morning early and pop out a 100-mile ride with no prep and no fuss (and then do it again the next day) then download the entry form now (or get in contact with us through our contact page).

What do I need to bring to the party?

The usual things: A bike, a lid, a brain, common sense, a bike computer that works, and a good set of legs. We’ll cover our arses with a fulsome set of rules and regulations as dictated by our insurer.

How long does it take?

Best time so far is 10  hours 59 minutes, set by the King of the Bowland Badass 2012, Sven Wardle. The start time is 07:00 and we expect times of between 10 and 15 hours (after 15 hours the guy who takes your name at the end will either have gone home or be too pissed to understand your incoherent, exhausted ramblings). If you do better than 10 hours we might buy you a pint or give you a trophy (in accordance with your preference).

Can I recce it?

If you want to do sections of the course beforehand, then why not? You can ride the whole damn thing on your own if you like……….

Can I race it?

By all means be our guest if that floats your boat, but if you do it on the day you will be listed merely as a finisher along with everyone else (though we might append times to the list of Badass finishers and if you’re really anal you can export the whole lot into an Excel spreadsheet and work out just how many other people you squashed like bugs and then re-post it on Facebook or whatever….)

A nice route, a drop of insurance and a bit of food…..Is it worth a tenner?

Ride 167 miles up and down a big load of hills with no food and no-one else mad enough to do it with you and then ask yourself the question again.

View the Bowland Badass route


Posted on August 7, 2011, in News and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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