SPORTIVES have become popular events in recent years, offering seasoned riders and newcomers challenges that can be as tough or as straightforward as they wish. Organisers usually offer different distances from as little as 20 miles to over 100 miles. Sportives were partly born out of the British ‘Reliability Trial’, an out of season event with time bands, designed to keep people riding through the winter.
In many countries, sportives are billed as non-competitive events. However, in Europe there is more of a competitive element with categories and prizes awarded to the fastest finishers.
BUT IF YOU WANT TO DO WELL IN A SPORTIVE, TRAINING WITH A CLUB IS ESSENTIAL, CLUB RIDERS GENERALLY FILL THE TOP END OF THE RESULTS.
Most sportives use timing chips to ensure a healthy level of competition. Results are usually published in detail on the event website and often have gold, silver or bronze time standards.
Sportives appeal to riders of any experience or fitness level. Some riders will be looking for an element of competition, individually or by club, trying to be in the first or fastest group to finish. Others, who might find road racing too daunting, can ride at a steadier pace and still enjoy the benefits of a ride with marked directions, feed stops and mechanical support.
Oxted CC enter a number of the best organised sportives: the Kentish Killer, The Evans King of the Downs, the Reigate Rouleur, the Prudential 100, the Box Hill Original, the Dragon Ride in Wales and the Circuit of Kent, to name but a few.
At the Circuit of Kent sportive in September, Oxted had 47 finishers in the 50 & 80 mile distances, here is the 50 mile team, just before departure…