The Avenger Ragley Hall 22nd June 2014

Ragley Hall has been hosting the Avenger for only a couple of years and so the number of entries isn’t very large. It is a middle distance and olympic race based by the boating lake. This year you signed on on Saturday and racked on Sunday morning. Parking is free and very close to the competition area. I is possible to buy reduced entries for families and friends who have the use of the grounds which are lovely to picnic in. There are enough food and coffee stalls to keep everyone happy including a bike service stand. The swim was in two waves in the boating lake which is clean and deep. It was three laps and pretty straight forward. Assistance was available on exiting. The second (olympic) wave wasn’t allowed in until the first exited. Transition was a short run away.
The bike course exited out of the grounds using the one way system and headed out into the Worcestershire countryside but was not closed road. The ride is not all flat as it passes through the Lench’s twice with a couple of steep climbs. It was certainly very pleasant. There were two drink stations per lap handing isotonic fluid in bottles. You need to be prepared to ride on two busy A roads and be overtaken by odd lorry but by and large the traffic was considerate. On returning you have to slow down on entering the grounds of Ragley Hall due to speed bumps so not the best race for a PB.
The run was three laps of an off-road circuit which was well marshalled and stocked with water on route . There were sprinklers strategically placed, given the heat. This was a tough run as it had a hill to climb on each lap but very scenic taking you to parts of the grounds normally closed to the public. The finish was back in the Event Village and the goodie back had water and fruit as well as a medal.
Things good about this middle distance is it is local, very friendly and inexpensive in comparison to others, the lake is clean, the run is off road through lovely grounds and you are well supplied with fluids. Down side is the riding along busy A roads, rock hard ground to run on with ruts due to the temperature and the entering the grounds . Also they forget to hand out energy gels this year. Would I recommend it or do it again? Definitely.