The Hell of the Ashdown Sportive

Hello Everyone,

I would love to write more blog entries than I do, but I struggle with time and also struggle with topics when it actually comes down to it.

What do I write about?

Well this entry is about my first experience of British Sportive events. On Sunday I completed the 110km route of the ‘Hell of the Ashdown‘ Spotive organised by Catford Cycle Club.

What is Cyclo Sportive?

Cyclo Sportives (spelt in several variants e.g. cyclo sportifs) are long distance, organised, mass participation cycling ‘events’ – not races – typically held annually. Sportives challenge participants to complete a set course, usually between 100 and 200km, within a time constraint. Organisers typically offer two distance choices and will provide support with supervising marshals and food and/or water stations.

Sportives are the cycling cousin of running’s marathon. Sportives are growing in popularity in the UK along with sports such as Triathlon and Duathlon where participation is the focus for the majority of entrants rather than racing other participants, sportives see cyclists challenge themselves in a personal battle against the distance and then ultimately, the clock. The already lengthy course will traditionally include climbs and difficult riding conditions, adding to the kudos of the event (e.g. the cobblestones of the Paris-Roubaix).

Back to the ‘Hell of the Ashdown‘!

RG Active had a group of riders all participating which added to the occasion. The weather was looking good and although cold it was dry and that was good enough for me. The registration was quick and easy, which is more than can be said for the bathroom queue. We got changed, set the bikes up and headed to the start line.

The start was very relaxed like the whole atmosphere of the event, it didn’t have the nervous tension that surrounds a ‘race’ so when you were ready you rolled over the mat and you were off.

Marsha and myself rode with Josh and Ramsey, so we all had our RG Active cycle kit on and looked great as we followed the signs and marshals into deepest, darkest Kent.

The course was brutal, the ascents were long and the descents were steep and on tight twisty lanes that were damp and in some cases so muddy you had to ask if a mountain bike would have been more suitable?

For me personally it was a hard ride, I was in some level of discomfort after a heavy weights session on the previous Thursday meant that I ached everywhere, I couldn’t get to my jersey pockets and every bump and bobble in the road meant pain and suffering for me! but, that was my own fault and I was there for Marsha who is training for Ironman South Africa (only 6 weeks away). I had a mental bloke at about 75km where I just wanted to climb off, I was cold, I was aching and I was hungry…….. but as anyone who cycles knows, you will always bounce back and that is exactly what happened, I came good and finished the event feeling strong and in much better spirit.

Marsha had a fantastic ride as did Josh and Ramsey who are both in the early stages of training for Ironman Nice so as we crossed the line together we all had huge smiles on our faces, and we missed the rain!!!!

To sum up, I would have to say it was a great day. There were plenty of negatives that included bad, muddy roads, not great marshalling, my bike getting filthy, my aches and pains, the grey British weather but you can ignore all of those when you look at what the positives were. I got to spend 4 hours 28 minutes with my Mrs and two friends, travelling around a very pretty part of Britain. On top of that I was doing something that was making me fitter, stronger and something that I love…… riding my bike!

Would I do the event again next year? -YES

Would I recommend the event to RG Active clients? – YES

Would you tell people to stay out of the gym before the event? – YES

The next thing in the diary is the 2011 RG Active Majorca Training Camp. This is one of the highlights of my year and is always a great time of training, sunshine and fun.

I do intend to start writing more blogs and keeping the information flowing….. so I will leave this entry here and speak to you all again soon.

In the mean time please visit the RG Active website, keep the training up and I will hopefully see you all at an RG Active session very soon.

“Live what you Love ……. Go on TRI it!”

John

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