Event Report: Telegraph London Cycle Sportive powered by Maserati
27th June 2016
The week preceding the Telegraph London Cycle Sportive powered by Maserati had seen some fairly dramatic weather – rain, thunder, rain, lightning, more rain… Well, you get the picture. However, we at Human Race know how to look after our sportive riders, and on Sunday 26 June we ensured that the skies were clear and the scene was set for a perfect day out among the Surrey hills.
Having chosen between 50km, 100km or 100 mile routes, our cyclists headed first to Dulwich Park to line up for the start. The first wave of Long Route riders set off at 7:30, and just in case the early start was a bit of a challenge for anyone after a heavy Saturday night, True Start Coffee were there to help with a quick shot of caffeine to get those neurons firing. The Medium and Short riders followed soon behind and everyone was underway by 8:30, ready and raring to tackle the route. A particularly competitive group among the Short riders were the teams from FM Conway, each hoping to secure the Conway Cup.
Many riders were taking on the challenge in the aid of official charity Access Sport, who use the unique power of sport to transform the life prospects of under-represented and at-risk children and young people living in disadvantaged communities across London, Bristol, Manchester and Oxford. One even completed the Short Route on a BMX! Our quads are burning just thinking about it.
As any keen cyclist will know, a good sportive is half about the ride itself and half about the feed stations. The Long Route boasted 3 beauties, with an array of sweet and savoury products such as flapjacks, chocolate bars, the famous salted potatoes and a newcomer to Human Race in the form of Marmite pastry swirls – frankly, we’re amazed those made it to the feed stations with the amount of attention they were getting from us and the crew! Science in Sport provided energy gels and bars to keep everyone topped up and replenish the dwindling energy levels as the ride went on.
The London Cycle Sportive has always celebrated the rich Olympic history of the capital, and a more recent piece of that history is the timed ascent of Box Hill. With Rio on the horizon, let’s think back to 28 July 2012 – while the road race didn’t end with the result we all wanted, it’s important to remember while huffing and puffing your way up the famous Zig Zag Road that you are retracing the steps (or tyre tracks more accurately) of Tour winners Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome as well as previous World Champion Mark Cavendish!
Another nod to our Olympic history is the grand finale of the ride, which is a timed lap of the Herne Hill Velodrome. This incredible venue hosted the track cycling events at the 1948 Olympics, and is the only remaining venue still in operation from those Games. It’s one of the most exciting race venues in the country and current national track champions still train there. The love that cyclists have for this unique velodrome was clear from the constant crowd at the Friends of Herne Hill Velodrome stand in the event village. Many riders were fundraising for the Herne Hill Velodrome Trust, and to those riders we say a huge thank you and well done!
You’d be hard put to find a more exciting finish to a sportive, with even the weariest of riders finding the energy to put their all into a lap of the velodrome. Maserati are offering all riders a memento of this iconic finish by providing them with a complimentary ride photo certificate, showing the moment they rounded the final bend on their lap.
After crossing the finish line to collect a medal and Vita Coco, the fun wasn’t over! This year’s event village had an atmosphere second to none, with a BBQ, live band and most importantly for some, a well-stocked bar. You can’t get a much better day out as a cyclist – getting the miles in on a scenic but challenging route, followed by kicking back in the sun with a pint and a burger! As at all our sportives, ERDINGER Alkoholfrei were there to offer their isotonic recovery drink, and Yellow Jersey were handing out free mudguards and waterproof pouches while chatting to everyone about insuring their two-wheeled pride and joy. Two lovely ladies from Swiss Air also added a sweet touch by handing out free chocolate as they wandered the event village chatting to our riders.
Riders may also have seen BIKE TV out and about filming both on the course and in the event village. This was for the highlights programme, which will be shown at 7:30pm on Thursday – set your satellite boxes now so you don’t forget (Sky 464 and Virgin 552).
From one velodrome to another! The next event in the Human Race Sportive Series presented by BIKE is ICAP L’Etape London, which is bringing a taste of Le Tour to the capital on 25 September, starting from the Lee Valley VeloPark. Find out more at www.letapelondon.com.