So today I signed up for my first sportive, the Wiggle Essex Explorer. Some may ask why it has taken so long. I can only say “I don’t know”!
The Essex Explorer takes place the Sunday after next. I have opted for the 74 mile course and should be ok as I have been riding over 60 miles for the past three weekends. I’ll aim to push that closer to 70 miles on Sunday, then take it easy for the rest of the week (maybe get in a couple of short recovery rides after work).
I have to say that I am really looking forward to this. Although I have done a lot of long distance and organised rides in these past, these have all been sponsored rides for charity. This will be something else. It is timed for a start, which will be interesting but I am not going to worry too much about what time I achieve, just doing it and completing the course will be enough.
So what is a sportive?
A cyclosportive (often referred to as a sportive, a challenge ride or cycle leisure ride) is a mass-participation bicycle event that combines elements of road bicycle racing and long distance bicycle touring. Importantly, the events are not races and they make use of the road networks. The organisers of the event will have created one or more routes of different distances for riders to choose from. Riders sometimes carry a number and the time they take to complete the course is recorded. For some events, there might be an upper time limit within which the course must be completed. The routes will usually be well sign-posted and/or marshalled (some cyclosportives in Europe take place on roads which have been closed to motor traffic for the duration of the event), riders will be able to use feeding stations positioned at intervals along the route to replenish their food and drink supplies, and mechanical and medical support may also be provided.
If you want to read more, the event brochure is here
So now you see why I am so looking forward to doing this.