Event: 10 June 2012
Report: Sara Flatt, British Cycling
At the same time as 4500 riders were subjecting themselves to the epic challenge of the Dragon Ride, a more modest 340 were enjoying the more undulating terrain of Norfolk and the inaugural Boudicca Sportive.
Despite the gale force winds and heavy rain of the previous days, a window of wonderful weather opened up on Sunday June 10th which saw even the earliest starters setting off in shorts and short sleeve jerseys.
With routes of 100, 70 and 30 miles the organisers were hoping to offer something for every level of cyclist and as well as the keen club and sportive riders, the event also attracted good numbers of families and sportive newbies.
With sign on open from 6am and running like clockwork, the riders were in a relaxed mood as they headed down to the start and off into the Norfolk countryside. Only the horses and ponies at event HQ, World Horse Welfare, were there to see them on their way – and they seemed non plussed at the sight of so many cyclists – maybe it was a bit early for them too!
The last riders on the 30 mile route rolled out on time at around 9.30am. Over running engineering work at a level crossing had meant an early morning revision to the original route – but the alternative was quickly signed and an on the line briefing let everyone know why they were leaving HQ in the opposite direction!
It looked like being a busy day for the technical back up team when three calls for assistance were received from 100 mile riders in the first 10 miles – 2 slashed tyres and a snapped chain. But with these three riders sorted out and back on their way the mechanics put their feet up and that’s where they stayed, these were the only calls of the day!
The medical team had an easy day too – just one grazed knee and a mild bout of asthma to deal with!
The sporting 30 mile riders started to roll back in after about 1 hour 40 minutes, the early finishers included a good sprinkling of youngsters from local clubs all looking great in their club kit. All the 30 mile riders made it to the finish and everyone of them crossed the line smiling.
The 70 and 100 mile routes were not just longer, they were more undulating. Not hills as such but just a gentle wearing down process as riders headed into North Norfolk. With the weather being perfect, the 100 mile riders were justly rewarded with a fantastic view of the Norfolk Coast and blue sea as they crested Beacon Hill at the halfway point of their ride.
The decision to stock feed stations with, amongst other things, fig rolls and malt loaf seems to have been a popular decision with many riders re-acquainting themselves with the wonder of fig rolls after many years absence. Energy drink from Torq and bananas also kept riders well fuelled for the ride.
By early afternoon the HQ was starting to fill up with returning riders, there was a real buzz around the café as they tucked into the free event food and drink. Sunshine always makes cyclists happy and whilst the weather certainly contributed to the atmosphere on the day the overall feel was of an event that had been very well organised, routes that were virtually traffic free and more challenging than expected and the desire to come back and do it all again next year!
Praise for the Boudicca Sportive
“The pain passed almost unnoticed, distracted by the bucolic and very English scenery. Your knowledge and pride of your area were obvious. The hard work needed to make it run so well less so, which is an even greater achievement. Shaded perhaps only by your ability to control the weather. A joy, thank you.”
“Just wanted to say how much my wife and I enjoyed the Sportive on Sunday.I have done 100 milers elswhere in much more hilly terrian but I found the course more challenging than I thought that i would.Of course 100 miles isn't easy anywhere but i found the rolling terrain very enjoyable and the view of the sea at the top end was memorable..A big plus point for me though was the lack of traffic.This could be a big selling point for your Sportive.”
“Was a fantastic event, and great touches with the sports drinks at the feeding stations and pasta to finish! Hit the nail on the head!”
“Was a really well organized and brilliant event. Expect us in force next year!. Big thank you to everyone who gave up their time to make it happen.”
"Great event, thanks to everyone who made it possible & our hosts at World Horse Wefare. Really enjoyed the 30 mile route ridden with my son, he loved it, especially the free pasta at the end!"
And here's our favourite...
“Something has to be said about the things that weren't provided on this sportive...
- No t-shirts (I only use these to clean my bikes)
- No certificates (they usually find the nearest bin)
- No medals (admittedly my kids like them)
- No printed maps (which are only useful if the signage is poor)
- No noisy announcer
- No greasy food
- No useless number pinned to my bike
What have I missed?
Sometimes it's not what you put in, but what you leave out that makes a difference. Well done.”