A sportive might only last a few hours for the riders but it has taken months of careful planning by the organisers to make sure everything goes to plan on the day.
The last few days leading up to the event itself are the most intense, with all the different aspects of the careful planning coming together. Here is an overview of those last few days, with some of the vast amount of positive feedback we have already received from riders on the day.
Wednesday – Planning the route signs
We recently drove around all three routes to familiarise ourselves with them again and make note of difficult turns, hazardous descents or anything else worth mentioning to the riders. In particular we made the route splits more obvious, with bigger signs in better positions. After working out exactly what we needed, we set about printing and laminating the new signs ahead of the weekend. This was some 300 signs in total, many of which were recycled from last year to keep costs down.
“Rode the BCC Sportive today for the first time and despite the numerous hills and wet end, enjoyed it very much. Congratulations on the efficient running of the event, especially the sign-posting - better than some of the bigger events I have done!” Stuart B.
Thursday – Volunteer meeting
We called a meeting in a local pub for everyone who had pledged to help in one way or another to come together to go through all the plans for the event. We allocated roles to volunteers and made sure everyone knew what time to turn up where and what was expected of them. Events like our sportive rely on the generous help of volunteers otherwise we simply wouldn’t be able to manage all the tasks in time.
“I rode the BCC Sportive (medium) today - my first sportive, and a decent challenge as I'm fairly recently back into cycling. I want to say well done and thank you to all the organisers and volunteers for making it such a well-run and enjoyable event. A huge effort must've gone into it, and it is definitely something BCC and those involved should be proud of.” Neil B.
Friday – Collating the rider packs
We received the timing equipment from a supplier recommended by British Cycling – this worked well last year and we decided to use the same company again as we are familiar with how their system works. This year though, we made up a numbered rider pack for every entrant, which included their timing chip, cable ties and a route map, so that on the day the registration process ran very smoothly. Riders were simply given the pack corresponding to their number, and away they went, keeping queues to a minimum on the day.
“Just to say thanks for a well organised Sportive today. The long route was epic, almost on par with the Fred Whitton Challenge. Great different selection of food, much appreciated.” Wayne H.
Saturday AM – Route marking
Putting out the signs takes as long as actually riding the routes, but we’re getting slicker each year. Each route had a team of three: one driving, one making the signs up in the back seat, and one jumping out to cable-tie the sign to the appropriate lamp-post, according to the notes we had made on previous route recces.
Due to roadworks there was a major route diversion we had to work out on the fly, which unfortunately meant the short route riders missed out on one of the iconic climbs, Hindersitch Lane, but they don’t seem to have missed it that much.
“Thank you so much for a great event. It was my first sportive and apart from getting soaking wet and riding the hilliest of hills I've ever seen in my life, I met a lovely lady who helped me to the end and had such a great day. I feel fantastic! What an achievement.” Deborah T.
Saturday PM – The food
Food is a big aspect of our sportive; whether that’s at the fully stocked feed stations (two of which have been moved to cafés) or back at the ride HQ. The worst thing that could happen is running out of food so we had been keeping a careful eye on the numbers. Our resident chef, Sarah, carefully tailored the food for each feed station to meet the needs of the people on the different routes, for example more sugary snacks for the short route, but more savoury snacks half way around the long route, by which time people are looking for something different to eat for a change – the salted boiled potatoes certainly went down a treat!
“Great ride today - shame about the weather at the end. The Belgian waffles were a stroke of genius, they always bring a smile to my face. Thanks all for organising a brilliant day.” Sue J
And of course, food at the ride HQ was carefully planned too. This included bacon rolls and coffee for the people helping to set the site up, to cobs and coffee for the returning riders, including our now famous homemade soup.
“Thanks Beeston CC for a great ride today, very well organised and well stocked feed stations. I'll be back next year for sure.” Joanne M.
Sunday – The big day!
Our team of volunteers arrived on site at 6am to begin setting up with all the usual marquees for registration, food etc. It has taken us a couple of years to work out the best layout, but I think we cracked it this time, fully utilising the on-site facilities including the toilet/shower block and kitchen, with ample bike racking on the hard surfaced area in front of the marquees, and managed car parking for riders on the adjacent field. Once the site was set up, the food stop teams left to set up their respective stations and wait for the riders to come through, returning after everyone had been checked off the list to help with taking the site down and back to its original state – though now cleaner and swept of glass!
“It was the best run sportive I have done all year.” Jonathan B.
Monday – Final clearing up
The event might be over for the riders, but there is still some clearing up to do - returning the timing equipment and other stuff we have borrowed from the local council, Scouts or volunteers, taking the signs down along each of the routes, and reflecting on the past event and where to take it next. But that’s another story…
“Thanks to Beeston CC for organising one of the most sadistic cycle rides I've ever been on. Gonna sleep well tonight, cracking day.” Matt N.
A bus driver stopped at the Crich feed station and told one of our helpers “What a wonderfully courteous bunch of riders you all were on the sportive today.” Well done everyone.