“It’s fun to have fun, but you have to know how” – Dr Seuss
If you’re getting fed up of riding the same old roads with the same old group how about pushing out of your comfort zone for a bit? If you’re not sure where to start, there are many organised events which will help you find the best roads and give some level of support to get through to the finish.
Reliability Trials are a great place to start, these are a pretty traditional early season events similar to a sportive, but much cheaper! Originally reliability trials were route finding challenge as riders were given a route sheet start and then simply had to find their own way. Nowadays, however you can download the gpx file of the route and follow it on your Garmin or Wahoo device.
I’ll be riding;
West Kent RC 5/01/20 http://wkrc.org.uk/west-kent-rc-reliability-trial/
Old Portlians 2/02/20 http://www.oldportlianscc.co.uk/Main/Reliability_Trial.php
Sydenham Wheelers 9/02/20 http://www.sydenhamwheelers.co.uk/
It’d be good to have some fellow Velo’s there to enjoy the ride.
Moving on into the Spring I’ll be riding a few sportives, there’s a much wider range than Ride London! Personally I absolutely love a weekend in France or Belgium to take in one of the Classics, they all have a sportive which uses the same roads as the pros will be racing on the following day. With a bit of planning you can catch up with the pro race and spectate from the roadside as they pass, if you’re really organised you will see the pros half a dozen or more times. Being the day before the race the fans are already there with camper vans, beer and Euro pop! What’s not to like?
Belgian Semi Classics March – April https://www.etixxclassicstour.be/en/
Tour of Flanders 4/04/20 Full blown Classic, great atmosphere, some cobbles and cheeky climbs, a range of distances, really good for watching the men’s and women’s races on the Sunday https://www.werideflanders.com/en/
Paris Roubaix, 7/04/20 Really severe cobbles range of distances although nothing happens before Arenberg! Race watching a bit more challenging as being a place to place event you have to do some good planning to get ahead of the race! https://www.parisroubaixchallenge.com/en/
Liege- Bastogne Liege 25/04/20 If you like climbing you’ll enjoy this, non-stop hills, 2 choices of route, longest one at 267km is tough! https://www.sport.be/lblcyclo/en/
Another Paris Roubaix! 10/05/20 longer and cheaper this one is organised by a club and has a fantastic ambiance. Just as tough as the first one but no race to watchhttp://www.vc-roubaix-cyclo.fr/site/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=38&Itemid=113
Fred Whitton 10/05/20 “Probably the hardest one day ride you’ll complete” A tour of the hardest climbs in the Lake District www.fredwhitton.co.uk
Chase the Sun If you want to make the most of the longest Saturday of the year, how about a 200 mile coast to coast challenge? I did the North Route this year, absolutely blown away by it and entry is free! www.chasethesun.org
Getting there is not difficult, it’s worth getting a group together, booking ferry or tunnel and a hotel and enjoying a weekend you’ll never forget.