Virgin Money Cyclone Challenge Event Information

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The Virgin Money Cyclone Challenge rides are now recognised as one of the premier cycling events in the UK where non competitive cyclists can test their fitness and set themselves a personal challenge. The event attracts riders from both inside and outside the UK and the 2016 edition will be the 10th Anniversary of the event.
In the past 9yrs since it was first created the event has had over 30,000 riders take part and raising over £2M for charity. It was also one of the first multi day events that combined both competitive and non competitive elements. This format has been copied by several other events bu the Cyclone is still one of the biggest in the UK.
Sportive cycle rides are becoming increasingly popular throughout Europe and in the UK. They offer a challenge to all ages and abilities and allow participants to ride at their own pace, whilst enjoying the countryside. These events are not races but do allow those who wish, to test themselves and set their own goals and try and achieve them.

Northumberland is known as the “secret County” with some of the most beautiful countryside in Britain, quiet roads and friendly natives. What better way to view this spectacular County than by bike. Take in the scenery, stop in small villages along the way and sample the local “fare” on offer.

On 18th June 2016 you have the chance to enter one of the four different routes which combine to make up the whole event. The four events and distances have been planned to ensure that there is a challenge for everyone and one that will allow you to ride within your capabilities. All rides meander through the beautiful Northumbrian countryside, passing through quiet lanes and hidden unspoilt villages.

 A 4th route of 90mls (Red Route) has been added to give those riders who want a challenge midway between the 64ml and 106ml rides. 
All rides go out through Dinnington and then onto Berwick Hill before descending down to Kirkley Hall and on to Whalton. The routes then split 1ml north of Whalton with Ride A going towards Bolam Lake and the other three rides heading towards the first feed station at Netherwitton.
All rides start and finish at the Newcastle Falcons Rugby Club, Kingston Park and will use part of the route to be used on the Sunday by the very top riders in the Country when they compete in the Beaumont Trophy and Curlew Cup.
The 1st Feed Station for rides B,C and D will now be located at Netherwitton Village Hall instead of Forestburngate.  There is now an additional feed station at Cambo for Ride B. This will have drinks only. However participants can purchase snacks to raise money for the Village Hall. The other 4 Feed Stations will have energy drinks, bars and bananas all provided  as part of the entry fee plus a selection of hot drinks and cakes/sandwiches which can be purchased. They will also be manned by volunteers from the villages along with Gosforth Sea Cadets
The Feed Stations also act as Timing Stations and it is important that all riders ensure that their timing chip is securely attached to their helmet on the left side so that the organisers can accurately monitor where riders are on the course. These Stations also have 1st Aid Facilities and contact back to the Event HQ.
  • Ride A – 34 miles - Green Route
    Designed for families and those just who want to enjoy the countryside without any large hills. The route is undulating and ascends for a total of 390M (1280ft) whilst passing through a number of small villages with pubs and Coffee shops. There is one feed station at Stamfordham.
  • Ride B – 64 miles - Blue Route
    This ride is for semi serious cyclists or those who want a challenge. It is a hilly route and not to be entered without a little previous training. The route is the same route as Rides C and D for the first half and then goes off in a different direction to eventually join up with ride C again for the last 1/3rd of the ride. It ascends 1217M (3993ft) in the 64mls. There are feed stations at Netherwitton, Cambo and Stamfordham. The ride also passes through a number of villages and hamlets where there are pubs and coffee shops.
  • Ride C - 90mls - Red Route
    This new ride has been added to provide a challenge for those who do not want to do Ride D but want more of a Challenge than Ride B. It follows the same route as Ride D as far as Elsdon and then bears left to go up Winters Gibbet. It joins Ride B at the Harwood Forest Junction and follows Ride B back to the finish at Newcastle Falcons. 
  • Ride D – 106 miles - Black Route
    A serious challenge for the more experienced cyclists or those who are very fit. The route is very hilly with 2374m (7789ft) of climbing. The route is very choppy with 8 significant climbs and the highest point is Troughend Common (340m), west of Otterburn in the Cheviot Hills. There are 4 feed stations on this route at Forestburngate, Elsdon, Wark and Stamfordham.  Riders competing this distance will have the additional challenge of achieving Gold, Silver or Bronze Standard for their ride. 
    The standards are set as follows:
  • Gold Standard - under 5hrs 45 mins
  • Silver Standard - 5hrs 46 mins - 6hrs 35mins
  • Bronze Standard - over 6hrs 36mins.
All rides use safe and quiet roads and visit numerous villages along their way. Finishers in all events will be given a finishing time as well as intermediate split times. Riders will be able to download a certificate after completion of the event which will show their finishing time.
Riders will be set off in groups of 60 starting from 8am.  Riders registering for the different rides are requested to register in the following order:
Registration - Friday -  The Cycle Hub, Ouseburn, Newcastle Quayside
4pm -9pm
Wherever possible participants for the Saturday rides are requested to register on Friday to ease congestion on Saturday morning.
Registration - Saturday - Newcastle Falcons Rugby Ground
106mls - 7.00-8.00am
  90mls - 8.00-9.00am
  64mls - 8.30-9.30am
  34mls - 9.00-10.00am
Start times
The following start times are recommended for each distance:
106mls - start   8.00-8.45am
  90mls - start   8.45-9.30am
  64mls - start   9.30-10.30am
  34mls - start 10.30-11.00am
In 2016 it is intended to start the groups in the following order:
106mls - Black Route
  90mls - Red Route
  64mls - Blue Route
  34mls - Green Route
If it is not possible to start within the allocated time do not worry as you will be able to start as long as it is before 11.00am.
No rider who has entered the 34ml ride will be allowed to start before all of the 64ml, 90ml and 106 ml riders have started. This is for logistical reasons to allow the Feed/Timing Station at Stamfordham to open and be operational
Entry Fee
Adult over 16 - All rides: £30
Youth Rides A & B only: £15

Every rider will receive a free T-shirt and Certificate upon completion of their event once they have finished. There will be refreshment stops on all four rides where riders can get food and drink.
There are  numerous cafés and pubs along all three of the routes where competitors can stop and have a rest as well as taking on board food and drink. If you are doing Ride C why not pop into the Cyclists Cafe in Elsdon. This is the cafe situated to the right of the Village Green, behind the church as you come in from Rothbury. You will receive a warm welcome from Allan and Marion and you can have a look a the cycling memorabilia in the Cafe.
Every rider will have automatic event insurance provided by British Cycling for the duration of the event.

The Feed and Timing stations will be manned by village volunteers and the Sea Cadets and there will be full medical cover throughout the event. All junctions will be sign posted and exact route details for each ride are on the website. Throughout the event vehicles from Shimano will be on hand to assist those in difficulty and give advice. The feed station supplies will be delivered by Ramage Transport.

Registration for the Sportive rides will be done at the Cycle Hub, Ouseburn, Newcastle Quayside on the Friday  as well as on the Saturday before the start at Newcastle Falcons. All riders must register individually. It is not possible to register for a number of riders as this invalidates the insurance for those riders. Each rider will be able to see their ride number on the website before the event. It is hoped that most riders will register on the Friday evening in order to reduce queues on the Saturday morning.

Free bike checks will be offered by Cyclelogical to all those who have entered the event. Just quote your number and the event you have entered. It is advisable to have your bike checked well in advance so that your enjoyment of the weekend is not spoilt by a mechanical failure on the day. Advice can also be given to the about  what clothing to wear, correct riding position and what tools and drinks to carry on the day and during training for the event.
Event Parking
Participants who wish to pre book a parking space at Newcastle Falcons can do so by going to There are over 380 spaces at Newcastle Falcons and bookings will be taken on a first come first served basis.
Only those who have purchased a parking voucher will be allowed to park at Newcastle Falcons on the day of the event. The cost of the voucher is £5 and is totally administered by Newcastle Falcons.
The voucher is redeemable against food and drinks at the Bars and Kiosks on the day. If you purchase a voucher please ensure that you bring it with you to show to security staff as the Organisers will not have the names of those who have purchased a voucher.
Free Car parking for all those who have not booked a space at Newcastle Falcons will be at the Great North Park Park and Ride which is 1.5mls from the Falcons Ground. This car park will be sign posted with Stewards to guide riders to the start. The Car Park can accommodate 500 cars.

Match Day Parking will apply in the vicinity of Kingston Park and you will receive a Parking Ticket if you do not have a Residents Permit - be warned
Charity Information
If you decide you are going to ride on behalf of one of the nominated Charities you will be sent a sponsorship pack from that charity shortly after you have registered. You can then raise money for that charity. This could be as little as £1. There is no obligation to sign for a charity and you can just do the ride of your choice without any charity involvement if you wish. However it is hoped that many people will ride on behalf of a charity. There is also a bonus if you decide to ride on behalf of a charity. You will then be eligible to win one of the great prizes on offer for those raising the most amount for their charity.
Litter disposal
After the problems regarding litter disposal at the feed stations in 2009 things did improve in the following years. However riders are still disposing of Gel wrappers etc in the countryside and this lead to several complaints from the residents who live along the routes. Please dispose of litter considerately in 2016.

The Official photographers  for the Challenge rides are  Marathon  Photos. They will have a Team of photographers out around the routes to taking pictures of all riders. The photos will then be available at within 48hrs of the completion of the event.
All riders will be able to download their own personalised certificate Free from the website.
Event Entry
All those wishing to take part in one of the four rides must pre-enter using the online entry module on the website. Please make sure that you have received two email confirmations - regarding your entry and payment. If you have not received any emails (check your spam folder) within a few hours after your attempt to enter and if your name still has not appeared on the start list on the website within a few days, please contact us. 
Entries will close at 23:59.59 on the 5th June.
It is not possible to enter on the day of the event or the day before.

In connection with


The Performance Clinic
Marathon Photos british cycling membership

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