A new take on sportives! Sportives are mass-participation events where riders gather together, start together, ride together etc – in both small and larger groups – and therefore not acceptable under coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
Instead these Rallyé events mean riders choose their own routes and distances but book a time slot to arrive at the event village (for food stop and photographs). Only limited numbers are able to be in the village at any one time so there will still be the sense of riding in a big event – but without riders actually congregating at any one time.
There are 3 events planned:
26 July – the event village for this one is about 12 miles from home so I plan to head into Suffolk first and aim to ride about 120 or so miles that day
16 August – the event village is in Great Yarmouth; I’ve never ridden to Great Yarmouth before so I will do for this one and take in some of the Broads as well. It was to have been the Tour de Broads double weekend (2 x 100 miles) – and – for me – it still will be though I’ll be entirely on my own on the Saturday.
6 September – the event village is in Norwich – again about 12 miles away away so I plan to do my own Norfolk Broads ride first (distance tbd) before heading to Norwich and then home.
This weekend was to have been a two day, 2×100 mile sportive, Tour de Broads Spring Double, one of my big challenges for the year – it’s nearly 50 years since I last rode two big rides back to back, though what sticks in my mind the most is the 12hour time trial I rode then (213 miles = 6th place).
In this time of lockdown the event is, of course, cancelled, but, for me, the challenge of multi day riding remains – I simply have no idea how my legs and I will respond to a second day’s riding and I want to find out – so I’m now riding a solo, private Tour de South Norfolk on 15-16th May. There is also the challenge of finding food and more especially water, so I’m only aiming for 2 x 100 KM rides, over local routes I know well and with short cuts and shops mapped if need be.
There was to have been a second event in August – Tour de Broads Summer Double – by then I should know how my legs will cope and, hopefully, I can plan food stops a bit better – so the target is the 2 x 100 miles for then.
Well, that went quite well. Legs on Day 2 seemed fine though the choice of some small, gravelly lanes from Winfarthing to Hapton was unwise – would have been better to stick to the Turnpike (but that can feel boring as I use it often). That, and the hills towards the end (deliberate choice) seemed to knock the average speed down (15.0 vs 15.6 on Day 1).
Yes, will aim to ramp up to 2×100 miles by August!
An enjoyable ride – 100km is a distance I now like, though it’s not really a challenge. Starting from Great Dunmow, a charming town, I caught up with James (he’d paused for something) and then rode with him to Newmarket where he bought me lunch – but I was riding a little out of my league and paid the price when the long hill coming out of Newmarket was a bit too much for me and I dropped behind (he is somewhat younger than I). I carried on on my own and met up with him again at the finish.
But it was a memorable ride – it was the last event I rode before Coronavirus restrictions kicked in and put an end to all events and even riding along together. So all the chats and social interaction are now a treasure to look back on (and forward to..).
On the day, handwashing was the dominant theme, the pub where we stopped for lunch was packed and the 2m social distancing, queues to get into supermarkets (and shops still allowed to trade) as yet unknown.
Plans for two day (2 x 100 mile) events (and, indeed, all other events) now shelved but I try to get out for 2-3 hours riding every other day or so to try to maintain physical and mental fitness, staying local mostly on known roads.