For years the Merida Bikes MTB Marathon Series weekends have been a hit with mountain bikers, offering a choice of distance trails at various locations around the UK, in a similiar fashion to the growing popularity of cyclosportives.

For 2008 the series will be joined by the Gore Bike Wear Road Sportive Series. The aim is to increase the appeal of the events to both disciplines of cycling, turning the weekend into something of a cycling festival.

Four road sportive events have been confirmed for the new season. Two distances will be offered, 50 and 100 miles.

The more experienced sportive riders will find the Gore Bike Wear Road Sportive Series rides a great challenge with the ‘classic’ courses taking in some serious hills complemented by rolling back roads and amazing views over the various regions of natural beauty.

"After helping to support the Merida Bikes MTB Marathon Series over the past two seasons, and with the continued popularity of mass participation events, Gore Bike Wear has decided now is the time to take our involvement in grassroots cycling to the next level, says Gore's Ben Washington.

"We have created an exciting new road bike sportive series to partner the Merida Bikes MTB Marathon Series for 2008. Not only will our sportive rides provide the riders with a challenging route to test their form, but we'll also provide everybody with the opportunity to experience the most technically advanced cycle clothing on the market."

The Gore Bike Wear Road Sportive Series ’08 rides will be run very similarly to the Merida marathons, being one-loop events with the start and finish positioned in the same location as the event village, registration and event camping. Due to legal reasons the Sportives will be started in small waves of riders at set intervals. The start will open at 8am on Saturday and will stay open for approximately 2 hours to give everybody the chance to have a relaxing start at the time of their choosing.

The courses are fully marked but every rider will get a small ‘backup map’ given in case the official marking is not 100% clear or gets damaged or removed. Around the course our energy food sponsor High5 will be present with energy drinks, bars, and gels as well as with bananas and water. Alongside the energy backup, mechanics will be out there to help everybody with any technical problems.

Dates and venues

  • 24th May 2008 in Ruthin, Wales
  • 5th July 2008 in Builth Wells, Wales
  • 2nd August 2008 in Selkirk, Scotland
  • 13th September 2008 in Penrith, Cumbria


    The £25 entry fee for the Gore Bike Wear Sportive Series includes: Ride entry (40-50mile ‘Standard’ or 80-100mile ‘Classic’ sportive), free ‘after ride’ food, free usage of service stations, free Mountain Bike skills and riding tuitions (please check website for suitable times), finisher present, spot prizes and free camping from Friday to Monday.

    For info on the Gore Bike Wear Road Sportive Series and the Merida Bikes MTB Marathon Series which runs parallel to the events go to Entry is open now.