FEATURE: Circuit of Greystoke set for increase in distance

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It is hoped that doubling the distance for women, juniors, veterans and paracyclists will attract more competitors to this year’s Circuit of Greystoke hosted by Border City Wheelers.

Previously only the men completed two laps of the 14-mile course near Penrith in Cumbria, but that is changing in 2022.

After just 53 riders across all the age categories entered last year’s Merlin Classic Series event, organiser Dougi Hall decided that everyone would complete two laps making up 28 miles in the hope of attracting more competitors.

“Our entry is always quite a bit lower than other events so we thought it might be the distance with people coming a long way for 14 miles in one lap,” said Hall.

“It usually does attract a good quality entry just not a very big one. This year will be the first time the women, veterans, juniors, paracyclists and road bikes have raced over two laps.

“We can’t really put our finger on why the entries are a bit low but we’ll see if the distance pulls them in. It will be pretty tough, but it’s only 28 miles at the end of the day.”

A hard start greets riders to the course with the first three miles being up a steady climb before the middle section turns undulating with some technical bends.

Jessica Rhodes Jones tackling Greystoke last year.

Competitors then take on a steep climb at the midway point before descending back towards the A46 and a fast and flowing section to complete a 14-mile lap.

“It has a bit of everything really and is quite a demanding course,” added Hall.

“All of it is quite demanding really. Once you get over to the top of the climb it’s still quite lumpy and unforgiving until the last mile and a half until you are heading back to the finish stretch.

“It’s very quiet for traffic and you get some pretty reasonable views into that valley. It’s all very compact with the headquarters within 15 yards of the start.”

Despite suffering a mechanical problem with his gears Dan Bigham (Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling) set a new course record last season, clocking a winning time of one hour and eight seconds over the 28 miles.

This season will be the chance for juniors, veterans and women to set a benchmark time for future years over two laps (28 miles).

* All reports and features are copyright of Cycling Time Trials/Snowdon Sports. Not to be used without permission. This feature by Ben Goddard.