In 2012 the only sportive in Norfolk was organised by Ken Jolliffe. But his Boudicca has to become more than a bike ride if his dream of galvanising a region where cycling is still something of a secret society is to be realised.
The 67-year-old full-time cycling advocate and event organiser, although officially retired, saw 350 Boudicca participants in 2012, raising funds for local cycling clubs and providing the financial underpinning for entry level circuit racing at the private Elveden Estate.
That would accompany the seventh year of the Lotus Cycle Racing League and with both enterprises now taking all of Jolliffe’s time, the dream of a sportive fuelling increased cycling activity in Norfolk has begun.
And with help from British Cycling’s Eastern Regional Event Officer Sara Flatt, the Boudicca lives on in 2013, with hopes for a bigger entry than last year and more opportunities to progress cycling in Norfolk from the grassroots.
Jolliffe will ensure that the Boudicca stays true to its original aims though, with the aim of putting profits back into the local scene, raised by running a basic, fun sportive for the region.
"We want to put something on for Norfolk, attracting non-British Cycling members and feed them into the clubs and into the sport. I’m hoping it will build and show other clubs what can be done in the area.”
“We want to put something on for Norfolk, attracting non-British Cycling members and feed them into the clubs and into the sport. In racing now there are a huge number of riders who want to have a go, but they are mainly coming from sportives, not clubs. Therefore, I would hope the clubs get some extra members from the sportive, that it will act as another way to make cyclists aware of what’s on locally.
“To get the Elveden races going I had to put my name forward and hope others would join in and make it work – which they have. We are trying different things to improve the sport in general and there is evidence that this is happening. The first thing was how do we get money to underwrite things - that’s why we run the sportive and we will repeat it again.”
In the longer term, Jolliffe is already considering a time when a successor will be required to take over his events and his full retirement can begin.
“There will have to come a time where I have to step back and I hope that does happen. Because on many occasions you find an event is driven by one person, then they stop and the events disappear. It’s a real shame. I guess if we had a dozen more like me we could do a lot more. But I’m hoping it will build and show other clubs what can be done in the area.”
Until then, the Boudicca will continue – albeit no longer as the only sportive in Norfolk. And that’s one title Jolliffe is happy to immediately relinquish.