As the Olympics draw to a close – and the scramble for “the legacy” begins. It will not surprise anyone to see that cycling – the most successful British Olympic discipline – is faster off the mark than Sir Chris Hoy bursting for the line.
Apologies for the London-centric nature of this blog – but the fleshing of the bones of the RideLondon event typifies how cycling is being organised in this country.
Someone somewhere has their finger on the pulse. Someone noticed the appetite for watching road cycling in this country, someone spotted the thousands, lining five deep on the kerbside of the road – and someone has also noticed the huge appetite for sportives.
And if the crowds along the side of the streets and the “Sorry – Event Full” emails from sportive organisers do not convince you then go to WH Smiths on a Thursday and look at the empty shelves in the magazine section where my Cycling Weekly used to stand! Someone has been paying attention to this.
So as we move in to a critical phase, post-Olympics, with the danger of momentum being lost and focus shifting back towards the tawdry diet of the ten month football season – someone decided to ride the wave further and really make a difference.
Wow – combining the growing Sportive movement with a classic one day race – throw in a family cycle ride and a Grand Prix and not only will this wave's momentum continue – it will rise so great that it threatens to lap at the foot of the Col Du Madeleine itself. Something there for everyone surely.
Trust cycling! Trust cycling to go and win the largest haul of gold medals, trust cycling to capture the public's imagination and trust cycling to come up with a long-lasting sustained strategy to ensure that the political rhetoric of “legacy” can be adhered to.
Forget next year's Marmotte and Etape Du Tour – a closed road sportive round London and Surrey has already seen me dipping in to my pockets. Closed road!!! London!!! What next – Wiggo time trialling on a Boris Bike?
Sympathy for the Devil
Talking of cycling's very own Modfather – last Sunday I completed the Worthing Exelsior Cycling Club Sportive - “Devil in the Downs”. I entered this event with one eye on the Ride With Brad Sportive this Sunday – and one eye on the excellent cause that it supports, aiding the Chestnut Tree House Children's Hospice.
Typical of a cycle club sportive – what this event lacked in the polish and mass appeal of a Wiggle event – it made up for in fantastic route, friendly organisation and participants and the best cake since the South West Cycle Club sportive.
These factors along with the beautiful weather (at last), combined to make it the most enjoyable sportive thus far. Despite my pathetic time – completing the 78 miles in 4 hours 45mins I had a very enjoyable day. But this dance with the Devil was no easy task and a climb up Devil's Dyke and a route that touched on towns such as Doomsday certainly found me on a Highway to Hell more than once. The inferno-esque weather appeared to catch a few people out – and my buddy Dave – who thrashed me round the course – was in pieces at the finish station.
Luckily – the excellent cake, coffee and biscuits restored salt levels, and my eyes can now turn towards the Ride with Brad and a venture from the South Downs Devil – to Blake's Dark Satanic Mills of Lancashire. Can’t wait!