The 2008 Sunday Sportive series got off to a flying start at the weekend, with a sell out 400 riders converging on Princes Risborough for a challenging early season spin in the Chiltern Hills.
The event had sold out in the week before, exceeding organisers Trail Break’s expectations and forcing them to cancel on-the-day entry plans. Following on from the previous day’s off road Trail Ride, the event centre saw well in excess of 600 riders over the course of the weekend.
The biggest concern had been a ‘doom and gloom’ weather forecast for the day, which fortunately didn’t live up to its billing. A brief but sharp thunderstorm gave most riders a bit of soaking about an hour into the ride (a few reported missing it completely!), but other than that it stayed mild, dry and pleasantly springlike. By the latter part of the day, the ride even had some welcome sunshine to welcome home the later riders.
The Chiltern course is a surprisingly tough one, but not a total leg killer at 126k for the full route. It threw stiff climbs at riders relentlessly for that distance though, leaving them in no doubt that the Sportive season is open for business. To quote one local rider, “It was great fun… I think you pretty much found every grim hill in the area!”
The Chilterns have their way of taking one’s mind off the pain though, just by looking absolutely stunning at this time of year. Only the most focused riders failed to take their eyes off the road for at least a moment to take in a view; although with the amount of debris washed into the lanes, taking eyes off the road for too long wasn’t always advisable, judging by the day’s puncture count.
Back at the finish, many riders took advantage of the hot food and drink available as post ride reviver, discovering what so many mountain bikers have known for years – Trail Break’s home made chili rocks!
Both the route and organisation were hits with riders, with the excellent signage and instant results system being singled out for particular praise.
Full results for the ride are now online at www.southernsportive.com. The series continues at Duncton on the South Downs on May 11th, with an epic course that will give you some tasters of September’s Southern Sportive, and then moves onto Wantage on June 8th. Bookings for the rest of the season are coming in fast, raising the possibility that other events may sell out too. So don’t risk missing out; book in advance to ensure your place!
Full details can be found at the new website www.southernsportive.com