After a little Twitter based to and fro with an extreme sports store down here in Devon @bigpeaks I thought it may be of interest to do a little review of some of the sportives I have done over the past couple of years. As always these views are mine and mine only and purely judged on the pros and cons as I see it looking back . As we all know the memory can play tricks , if it doesnt why did I do Etape Cymru again this year 😄.
There are a number of different factors that need to be taken into account when looking at sportives and it’s the difference between an awesome ride and truly woeful experience . So with this in mind I will take into account the weather , the route ( how blinking hilly it is ) , the company and of course the feed stations and goody bag !!
So here listed in no particular order is a little review of many of the sportives I have ridden and can remember any details of 😄
1. Lands end 100
This sportive took place in October when I rode it and there is a blog that refers to it back in October 2012 . We chose to ride the shorter route as it was Uncle Jons 1st sportive . The start was well organised on a chilly October morning in St Ives ( I think the start may have moved since I rode this) . A stunning route that follows the coast anti clockwise via Lands end and along the south coast before cutting in land and back to St Ives . Stunning costal scenery without a doubt with undulating terrain . A few bigger lumps as you cut inland but nothing too stressful 😳.
Feed stations quite small but adequate choice of bits and bobs . The goody bag was a cycling cap and a magazine ( which I already had bought 😩)
This ride gets 7/10 on the Bradometer
2. Cheddar 100
As the name suggests this ride started in Cheddar in Somerset . This was a strange little ride, we again did the shorter route which missed out on the descent of the gorge but did head up Brent Knoll . I seem to recall getting a lot of cramp on this ride , weird ???
Again a well organised start and with decent feed stations . But to be frank and I have done quite a bit of cycling around the cheddar area a lot of the route was boring , long straight roads then 90degree bends followed by another long straight road . It’s really not the organisers fault just my personal thoughts on it . It was also blowing a gale when I rode this which doesn’t help on the exposed roads . I don’t recall the goody bag on this ride but do recall the little sad pat of cold pasta we were given at the end 😩
Gonna go for a 6/10 for this little un
3. Etape ness
Soooooo Scotland and closed roads what more could you ask for ? Ah yeah mountains …… Yep had those too , oh and did I mention the bagpiper at the top of Glendoe???. Stunning ride in a stunning location in perfect weather . So good I aim to ride it again in 2015. A big mention must go to the Well organised filtering on the approach to feed stations that Ride London planners could learn a lesson from !!! Great marshalling on the closed roads and well stocked feed stations . A near perfect sportive from me 9 /10
4. Action medical research Bristol to London
Funny ride this and bloody long too , think we clocked 124 miles this day so expect a fairly long day in the saddle . Also expect to have a few logistics to sort out which is always the case on a one way trip ( although AMR can provide transfers ) , also don’t expect to finish in London as the name would suggest . The year I rode it finished at Kempton race course which is inside the M25 so will let them off . Excellent feed stations as always on Action events with hot options available. Great goody bags too but beware you do ride on some fairly busy fast roads ( complete with road rage) particularly in the first half of the route . The Bradometer is saying 7/10 for this one maybe with a bit of kudos for saying ” yeah I rode from Bristol to London ”
Again mixed ability ride complete with the amazing postman on Royal Mail bike !!!
5. Ride London
An amazing and iconic ride in 2014 despite the route being cut short and the shocking weather . How they manage to keep the feed stations stocked for over 20000 riders God only knows but they need to sort out decent filtering into them as was so dangerous at these points. But to enjoy closed roads around London is beyond words. However it’s gonna lose a mark as its a logistical nightmare and expensive , maybe one to ride and say “yep done it ” . With the money you pay to enter you’d expect a quality medal and goody bag and that’s what you get . oh and don’t forget to soak up the crowds 😄 This is one seriously organised ride and you can’t doubt the amount of planning and the organisation involved.
6. Etape Cymru ( or b#####d Etape Cymru as I call it )
This is a real toughie and with that comes a different feel and maybe approach , you have some serious cyclists on some serious machines so if that intimidates you I would pass on this ride . That said its a huge achievement to get around this bitch of a ride. Once again on closed roads however that’s rumoured to be changing for next year. Have ridden this one two years on the trot now and it’s worth it for some stunning scenery and fast descents . Not worth it for the squits i endured !!! Good quality medal at the end and the best boiled spuds ever !
7.Action Medical Research Bath 100
Another ride I have done twice , once at each distance . A great route with plenty of variation despite the busy roads at points . Not sure the start at the top of a massive hill is a positive but it’s well organised as AMR events seem to be and with quality goody bags and feed stations. Quite a hilly little chap this one topped by the beast coming out of Bath near the finish . Well worth entering and real mixed ability of entrants too.
8. Dartmoor Classic
Hardcore you know the score ! Nasty nasty have a pasty on this little fella! Entered this one to do the long route and got to the feed station and bottled it . A great start village and sign on and well marshalled and signed route , but how hot was this ride in 2014 !! Oh and how tough ? Be prepared to take this one on and if your doing the Medio distance you will be climbing non stop pretty much to the half way point . But the views of Dartmoor more than make up for the aches and pains .Great feed stations but I understand they had problems later in the day . And with the weather maybe another water stop may have been an idea ? Gonna lose a point as my timing chip failed but all in all possibly a sportive everyone needs to try at least once .and it is certainly a mixed ability sportive . Goody bag and medal great quality and a tee shirt too ! But it’s the organisation which sets this above many of the rest . I do believe this is already sold out for 2015 😟so if like me you missed it there is a reserve list .
8/10 ( 9/10 if your timing chip works )
9. Wiggle Isle of Wight
I really enjoyed the novelty factor of this ride starting in the ever lovely New Forest before heading to the ferry port to get a transfer across to the island for a circuit and back onto the ferry ….. See how novel that is ?
The biggest draw back for me was I rode it alone and it makes for a long lonely day 😥. Another draw back once again my timing chip failed ( am I to fast for the timing chip to work perhaps ) and despite emailing the organisers they never replied . So a few negatives from me but hey it was novel so all good in the hood as they say . Quality goody bag from wiggle and no problems at the feed stations and a very picturesque ride indeed.
So there you have it Bradometers work is finished for the day feel free to ask any questions .