Following the successful Smuggler Sportive, The Bike Shed want to formally thank all individuals, businesses and establishments that have been an important part of the day. Here’s hoping all riders enjoyed this year’s Smuggler Sportive! Over 650 of you took to the roads on what was a glorious day, there were a lot of happy cyclists at the finish line – some Smuggling ole-salts with years of experience, others who had just proudly completed their first ever sportive. Hats off to you all!
Bike Shed are hugely grateful for the sign up: over 650 of you hearty Smugglers braved the heat and tackled the climbs. There were a lot of positive reviews back at Ride HQ, but if you have any feedback at all – positive or negative – please do get in touch!
Photo’s are already online: I’ve uploaded a few to our Facebook page already, and it was Sportive Photo who you may have seen at the roadside. (It’s safe to say, their photos are much better than mine!)
Without each and every one of these people, The Smuggler sportive wouldn’t have happened. Please note, this is in no particular order.
The driving force behind the day. Chief organiser, the head honcho if you will. Countless sleepless nights, meetings, route recce’s, risk assessments and all the admin involved was undertaken by Keith. One large pat on the back for you, sir.
Behind the scenes, there’s a lot to be done to ensure The Smuggler Sportive runs smoothly. Everything from putting up (and removing) all signs along the routes, making 800 rolls on Saturday morning to ensure there is actually food at the feed stations, driving the broom wagon, and a whole load more. The planning and execution of The Smuggler Sportive quite simply needs manpower, and Bike Shed’s army of staff step up to the mark every year.
The long-serving member of our North Devon contingent, known as Paul to you & me, (but I believe he secretly refers to himself as Lord Belton) has requested an honourable mention in this list of thank-you’s. His effort on the day was, in his own words*: above and beyond the call of duty, and probably deserving of a dedicated post to itself. (*He didn’t really say this).
In the interest of fairness, it’s worth mentioning Ben, Dean, Adam and Pete who made up the rest of the team driving the vans, signing the routes, mending broken bikes, collecting broken riders and making sure the entire route was impeccably managed.
Next up, Crediton Tool Hire:
Without their Generator and back up, we’d have been powerless – literally – and we’d have been unable to feed you!
Electrical services provided by Eric kept us going throughout the day – next year, we’ll see if he’s up for powering our legs too! E-bike, anyone?
The lovable Kye is often found in our North Devon stores, and was the driving force providing the music, loud speakers and announcements at Ride HQ.
Sarah (FORCE Cancer Charity)
Sarah and the FORCE Cancer Charity have long been a friend of The Bike Shed, we can always rely on her help and we’re proud to support FORCE Cancer Charity – I can’t think of a better excuse to ride a bike than doing so whilst helping to save a life! If you’re unsure who Sarah is, you may recognise her voice from the pre ride briefing and the familiar “Go Smuggle!” that set you off on your epic ride.
Josh (I’m actually the person writing this).
It feels a bit ‘blow-your-own-trumpet’, but I’ve told I must be on this list – so here goes! My role is ‘the online bit’. To update the website, organise the entry system with British Cycling, and promote the event to ensure that you (the riders) know about it! I am also the chap you might’ve seen at the sign on desk – if so, it was lovely to meet you!
Talking of the sign on desk, I ought to put my trusty sidekicks next.
Lance, Kayleigh and Claire
At 7:00am when 600 cyclists all descend on the marquee to collect their numbers, it can be a bit hectic. As British as we all are, nobody actually likes queuing, so their help ensured you spent less time waiting and more time enjoying the breakfast! I certainly couldn’t have done it without them!
Next up, BEER! Simon & Anna from Country Life Brewery
Returning to Ride HQ to a refreshing Smuggler Ale is the perfect way to end a day of cycling in the sun! Didn’t it taste great!?
Nick & Janet, Exmoor Forest Inn (Simonsbath)
Without Exmoor Forest Inn, there would be no first feed stop – and we all know how terrible that would be!
Another feedstation, enjoyed by the 50 and 80 milers, without Lee Abbey, this pre-Slattenslade feed stop simply wouldn’t have existed. This might’ve made you faster up that one hill, but if you don’t put petrol in the car, it won’t go very far – so the remainder of the return leg would’ve been a struggle!
For all their help with road closures, risk assessments and ensuring riders had The Square to themselves for the day!
With Phil’s barriers, we were able to keep the road closures clear and obvious to motorists – helping to keep riders safe!
Without their marquee, we’d have just been a bunch of cyclists stood around in The Square. The marquee helped to create a real ‘hub’. In which cyclists could congregate, find shade and pick up their lunch! They kindly offer a discounted rate to ensure more funds are raised for charity, and they are very obliging with their time to help us set up.
Roaming the routes, these trained paramedics were on hand with life saving support should anyone have needed it.
Additional motorbike based assistance for all riders – Ricki could be found voluntarily roaming the course to assist with riders mechanical and medical needs where required.
As mentioned above, they provide professional photography to our event year on year, meaning you have the chance to pick up a real souvenir of your day on the bike. They also provide the laminated rider numbers!
Dave Stanton (Crankhouse Coffee)
Crankhouse Coffee’s Smuggler blend of coffee is the smoothest, most golden cup of coffee I’ve ever tasted – something our Strava winners will find out – as Dave has kindly donated the prize fund!
Gary stepped in at the very last minute chef to help put food in the marquee. Without him, your porridge and your pasties would’ve been but a distant dream!
Serving teas and coffees in the corner of our marquee were the kind volunteers from North Devon Hospice – the very same coffee that kept me going throughout the day!
Provided primarily by local cycling clubs: Taw Velo and Hell Cat Mud Wrestlers, these marshals make safe any potentially dangerous sections of road, and junctions. They also guide riders around the course while offering a gentle nudge of encouragement along the way. Without them, The Smuggler Sportive simply can’t go ahead.
Without Porlock Toll offering a reduced rate for all cyclists on the day, the Porlock Toll Road could be an expensive inclusion to the route. But their kindness means even more of your entry fee ends up where it should be – in the hands of our charity partners.
Theresa & Petroc College
The post-ride massages from Petroc College are not only leg savers! They’re quite literally life savers too – year after year, they turn up completely voluntarily, so any donations they receive are donated to FORCE Cancer Charity. I think we can collectively forgive the pain of that elbow digging into the hamstring.
My addition: Mike (The Boss!)
He’s not put himself on this list. But if I’m writing a thank you to myself (see ‘Josh’ above), then he’s going on the list too!
Every year, Mike puts into place a number of military-sized operations in order to raise money for our charity partner Force Cancer Charity. The biggest of them is The Smuggler, but you’ll likely be aware of our other annual sportives: (The Nello, The Autumn Series, etc). All require a huge amount of time, effort and resources, and help to raise vital funds for an important charity.
Rather than providing prizes for the fastest, we’re drawing a raffle of any rider that submits their activity. To do this, please simply contact us with a link to your ride on Strava.
The male & female winners will receive a £30 voucher for The Bike Shed. 2nd and 3rd will be the lucky recipients of some smooth Crankhouse Coffee. I have extended the deadline for submissions to 20th June. Get them in!