Published: 8 May 2012
Blog: Lorna Johnston
Meet Lorna, one of our sportive blogging competition entrants who blogs her experiences at the recent Evans Ride It Callander Sportive.
Above: Lorna's clubmates from Glasgow Green CC prior to the start of the Evans Ride It Callander sportive.
It must have been an eternal optimist or a madman who conjured up the idea of hosting a sportive on April Fool’s Day in the Trossachs. It appeared to be a well planned route taking in 90 miles of spectacular scenery, a signature climb on the notorious Duke’s Pass not once but twice inside the first 40 miles and many challenging, grinding miles on some of our less well paved roads. On a nice day this would be the ideal route to show off some of the most stunning views our country has to offer, but on a typical ‘dreich’ Scottish Sunday it would be one of the most unforgiving courses imaginable. Thankfully the weather gods played no pranks and my 2012 sportive season was christened on a crisp, sunny morning in Callander.
One year ago I accepted the challenge from a schoolfriend to take part in the Meningitis Trust London to Paris ride to ‘do something big for turning 30’. Neither of us were cyclists. The thought of riding over 200 miles in 3 days was almost incomprehensible and I envisaged arriving at the Eiffel Tower on my saddle sore derriere and ceremoniously throwing my bike in the Seine. Never did I imagine that my love affair with cycling would be nurtured on the smooth, rolling roads of Northern France.
The camaraderie of riding in a group and the sheer exhilaration of conquering the highs and lows as a team was something I hungered for on my return from France. I had a fear of club riding as I didn’t think I was good enough to show up for a Sunday morning run but my saviour came in the form of Glasgow Green Cycle Club (GGCC) - branded as ‘Scotland’s friendliest bike club’ they did not disappoint.
I rode my first sportive with the club in September’s Pedal for Scotland and we rode the 48 mile short course as a team - no one was dropped, we had a laugh and there was no room for egos. It was exactly what I had experienced on L2P and I found myself looking ahead to 2012.
Reading the cycling press I was amazed at the number of sportives taking place all over the country - six months previously ‘sportive’ was a foreign word to me. The convenience of online entry systems saw my personal sportive calendar grow rapidly over the winter months and the arrival of my new bike in March signalled the end of winter training. I started to climb more confidently and managed to tackle the Duke’s Pass for the first time on my new stead’s maiden run with some fellow club members.I was then talked into taking part in the Evans Ride It Callander Sportive - 90miles so early in the season made me apprehensive to say the least, but I was assured that we would see it through as a team.
And so it was that I set out to ride from Callander in the sunshine with my GGCC family. The event was well organised, well signed and there was fantastic cake at the feed stops! It was most definitely a challenge and I couldn’t have done it without the support of the guys.
For me, sportives are all about social riding. Wikipedia defines sportive as ‘a mass participation cycling event.’ The sense of ‘participating with’ as opposed to ‘competing against’ other people who have a passion for cycling is exactly what has turned this love affair into what I hope will be a lifelong relationship.