Yesterday was my first sportive – my club’s excellent Farcycles Follyfest Sportive, now in its 5th year – after the everest. I wasn’t sure if having that in my legs would be good or bad – but it turned out to be pretty good.
I traded down from the 100 miler to the 70 mile ride on the basis that I could justify giving myself the treat of a 30 mile saving after the cycling in the alps. My aim is always to have an enjoyable ride and that fits very well with the thinking behind the sportive – great route through lovely Oxfordshire/Gloucestershire countryside with really friendly marshalling and admin and certainly the best food of any sportive I’ve ever done.
However, as usual, competitive juices got the better of me and I found myself in (at the back of) the front group. At the first feed station everyone else stopped. I was a bit surprised as the others were clearly better cyclists than me – but I guess they’d heard about the quality of the food on offer.
So I ploughed on alone. Eventually, on and off, I caught up with a few of riders from the 100 mile route and was enormously grateful for the conversations and a few essential tows. For 40-odd miles I played hare waiting to be caught by the following pack who were certainly gaining on me – but they never appeared (perhaps they stopped at the second feed station too – I didn’t).
So, first home from the 70 mile ride which is nice – but tempered by the fact that I know there were very many riders better than me out there. As with all sportives, it’s a ride, not a race.
Terrific food at the end and a really great bunch of riders to chat to. Chapeau to all who took part on the 35, 70 and 100 mile rides – and to all involved in the organisation and admin. Another great day out on the bike.
Perhaps the lesson – in true ‘sledgehammer to crack a nut’ style – is that everesting is good training for a sportive. If that’s the case, I’ll look forward to many sub-optimal sportives in the future.