In the same way that runners have their organised events, the cycling world is no different – playing host to numerous cyclosportives (or sportives for short) which are long distance, organised, mass-participation events and are typically held annually.
It’s fair to say that they’re the equivalent of a marathon as, rather than racing everybody else, most participants use the event to challenge themselves in a personal battle against the distance and the clock.
Well…I’ve now completed my first sportive. The Essex Roads’ Spring Lamb Sportive; a ninety three mile (150km) loop around the rolling hills of Essex, starting and finishing at Billericay.
Great day out and I really enjoyed it. One hundred and thirteen miles all in and, having said I’d be happy to record a time of under seven hours I was delighted to see my final time clocking in at six hours and seven minutes!
I managed to pair up with another rider for most of the day who was training for his own long-distance challenge over the summer, Dan. It was nice to have someone to chat to, and the miles ticked over far quicker than I found on my journey the previous weekend.
There were a couple of points where we found ourselves joining up with a peleton of riders. Whilst I knew about it, I certainly hadn’t appreciated quite how much easier it was to cycle in or at the back of a pack. With both of us wanting to test ourselves over the distance, however, we opted to not draft and help each other with the wind and instead rode two-abreast where possible taking on the majority of the event individually.
Lovely weather for the duration, with beautiful spring sunshine breaking out for large spells. The feed stops were placed at ideal points and I’ll certainly be back to try out some more of the Essex Roads’ events in the future!
Only downside was my right knee starting to feel a little tender towards the end of the day. Having had my fitting last week I’m sure I’m set up correctly, so I think I may have just pushed myself a little too hard having basically covered the course at 15.5mph. It’s not the quickest speed ever, but it is 5.5mph faster than my trip back to Peterborough last weekend.
Rest tomorrow and then a couple of easy days to see how it is. Certainly not going to be pushing it that hard on the main trip, so no point in jeopardising finishing that by being silly with it all in the next three weeks.