Sportive Season 2009
each sportive season, I try to have a theme or common thread between the
events. Season 2004 was the UCI Golden Bike Series. 2005 the Belgian
Classics & the Alps. 2006, was the Monuments season, which saw
us flitting between Belgium, France and Italy.
For 2007 it was the Pyrenees and the 4 Aces
series, which became three in the end, and 2008 saw us tackle the sporting legends
sportives. Events endorsed and attended by our cycling heroes and
mainly Dianne's new friends!
Due to logistical difficulties we didn't quite manage to
hit the magic 50th Sportive milestone (kilometre stone doesn't have the same
ring to it does it?) in 2008 so it'll be early on the agenda in 2009.
I'll be 49 in March 2009, which means I'm amongst the oldest in the
40-50 age category. The result is, I get my backside kicked all
round Europe hanging on to the faster, stronger, "younger" vets of our
So for 2009, I'm going big! With a few steady rides
early on, I'll be building up to "peak" (see what I did there?) for the
Ventoux Masters in the middle of the year. Then it's a choice
between the Le Mans 24 Hours Cyclo or the 220k monster Helletocht. Don't need speed you see. It's all about endurance.
I hope to kick the season off on March 1st with Morgan Lewis'
Puncheur Sportive in East Sussex in the UK. Then it's our
first visit of the year to Flanders. Saturday it's the pro's race
and Sunday sees the 133k sportive, 11 berg GP E3
Vlaanderen. And it's my birthday. If Dianne brings her
French Maid's outfit, my weekend will be complete!
In early April it'll be our third trip to the
La Coulainiase (previously called La Ronde Sable
Sur Sarthe), as it's (relatively) local, it's fast, and it's held
at lunchtime! Dianne finished second in the W3 class in 2007, and
had a massive nosebleed last year and nearly got pulled out by the
she's got unfinished business in the 92k ladies, of a certain age, event. We also hope
to take a few friends to taste their first European sportive.
Two weeks later it's the 98k
Leon. Don't be put off by the "shortness" of the event.
It's the Breton Paris Roubaix, or to be
honest, it's more like L'Eroica.
This event has long been a pro race in France and once more they've
reintroduced the sadly missed supporting sportive that combines racing
on a mixture of roads and farm tracks. Nice. It's not all mud you
With April out the way. In May it's back to Belgium for the
Grinta Challenge, part of the excellent Lotto Cycling Tour.
With 16 climbs and over 2000 metres of upness in 152k, it should start
the climbing season with a bang. After that, it's to Bayonne
and just above the Pyrenees for the 155k, lumpy,
June sees a flurry of activity once more with three sportives on the
bounce. First off is the 160k
Limousin, down at
Limoges. A fantastic part of France that's less flat than you
think. Then it's up to Flanders again to climb an amazing 30 climbs
in just 140k of the
Reuzen van Vlaanderen, which includes my all time favourite, the
A quick pitstop in Jersey, then it's back on the boat for
another crack at one closer to home. Due to it's closeness, fun
factor(!) and stiffness of parcours, it'll be another trip to St Breiuc
Here comes the big one. The very big one, my attempt to climb Mont
Ventoux five times in 24 hours and become a
Ventoux Master. It will truly mark my five year
transformation from a sprinter to a grimpeur. Or it won't, only
time will tell. Here's my entry confirmation, dated 30th November
2008. No turning back now!
I'm stuck choosing between two monster events in August.
There'll be the inaugural running of the
Le Mans 24 Hour sportive. or the classic based 218k
Helletocht. Another Lotto Cycling Tour event that races
from Roeselare to Roubaix Velodrome and back. Taking in climbs and
cobbles as it goes. With the first climb, the dreaded breaker of
bikes and bones... The Kemmelberg. Oh joy!
Depending on the events in August, I'm looking to throw one more in
for September. Just haven't decided which one yet.
Whatever you choose to do, or wherever you choose to do it,
have a happy, safe and above all an enjoyable 2009 season.