My Sportive Plans For 2020 (What Are Yours?)

It’s time this blog saw some writing action. It’s time my legs saw some cycling action.

The standard approach is to start with the excuses.

Instead, let’s start with what I’m going to do about it.

The first action is to write this post. If you’re reading it, let’s assume I’ve at least achieved that.

The second action is to lay out my ‘race programme’ for 2020.

Finally, and this is less an action, rather a somewhat uninteresting piece of information, I will ‘reveal’ the location of this year’s training camp*.

(* family holiday where I plan to take my bike)

My 2020 Sportive Programme

Okay, this is pretty bare bones. I struggle to commit to too many events, what with other demands on my time (work, family, over-optimistic workshop-creating projects).

I have a grand total of two events planned so far. I’ll definitely have to train for the second one. That being the case, and assuming I do (train), I’ll see if I can slot in a few more events.

Event 1: The RideStaffs Spring Forward Sportive

This is my local sportive, run by Paul from RideStaffs. It’s early in the season (the clue’s in the name), on the first Sunday in April (the 5th, for calendar-markers) and not too long. Nor is the terrain too arduous. Perfect for getting the velo juices flowing.

RideStaffs Spring Forward Sportive

The sportive starts in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire. JCB, they of the yellow diggers, was founded in Uttoxeter. Staffordshire is famous for pottery and small aggressive-looking dogs.

This year’s Spring Forward Sportive has a novel format. There is a ride in the morning (36 miles, hilly, somewhat close to my manor) that loops back to Uttoxeter for lunch. Then there is a slightly shorter (28 miles) and gentler southbound loop in the afternoon. You can ride either the morning or afternoon loops, or both.

I haven’t quite decided, but I think I’ll probably just do the morning loop. That seems to be sufficient to merit the pint of local beer and finishers t-shirt that’s included in the very reasonable entry fee (£29.99).

Click here for more details about the event

If you do take part, please do come up to say hello (to me). I’ve met precisely one blog reader (who I didn’t already know) in the wild (actually I met him twice at two different events) and it was a thoroughly gratifying experience (probably more for me than him).

Also, tell Paul I sent you.

(Oh, and here is my blog post from when I took part in last year’s event. It’s not the same route, but you’ll get a flavour of the roads that Paul favours when he designs his routes.)

Event 2: The White Rose Classic

Two things are brilliant about the White Rose Classic sportive.

  1. it is in God’s Own Country; and
  2. the organiser, Scott, reached out and offered me a free place.
White Rose Classic website screen

This year’s WRC takes place on Sunday 21st June. The start and finish is in Ilkley and the event is organised by a volunteer force from Ilkley Cycling Club (who sport a very smart black, racing green and yellow kit).

There are three routes to choose from. All look magnificent.

With the long route (at 192 hilly kilometres; 3245m ascent) feeling like it might be a bridge hill too far, however, I’ve elected to do the medium route.

But even the medium route isn’t to be taken lightly. At 135km and 2,106m of climbing, I’ll have all on to get my fitness to a point where I enjoy the day rather than simply endure it.

White Rose Classic sportive medium route profile
Some fair bumps in this one…

I’m very much looking forward to the day. I plan to write more about my training and preparation for the event on this here blog.

To be honest (and we mustn’t tell Scott), I’d have been prepared to pay to ride.

It suits me in terms of timing (June is a relatively quiet month for us this year; there is sufficient time beforehand to train), location (the start is not too far from my sister’s house) and route (parts of the Yorkshire Dales where I’ve not ridden before).

In fairness, I did end up paying for an entry… for my brother-in-law to join me as super-domestique, team car driver and soigneur.

If you want to join me (I recommend you do), here is the link to the website.

As an aside, the rider road book (you can download the 2019 version as a pdf from their website) provides an excellent summary of everything you need to know. It’s clear that an awful lot of work goes into creating it (which sends a positive signal about the level of organisation for the sportive itself).

Almost Event 3: RideLondon 2020 Ballot Ballyhoo

My programme almost comprised three events.

Last week saw the results of the ballot for places in RideLondon 2020. Ballot places are as rare as hen’s teeth.

I was very excited then to receive a ‘Congratulations’ magazine… for a different person that is not me. The covering letter was addressed to a lady who lives up in the Peak District.

RideLondon Congratulations magazine

I did consider participating as said lady. But whilst what I get up to in private is my own business, I am not quite ready to do it whilst riding 100 miles around our nation’s fine capital.

A bit of quick Googling determined that there had been a postage snafu by the organisers (actually, they quickly laid the blame at the hands of a ‘3rd party contractor’).

It turns out I did have a place. I got the email a few days later. Gawd knows where that magazine has gone.

Final twizzle in the tail though. We’re on holiday at the time of the event. I cannot ride(London).

I did consider paying and then deferring my place (I mentioned the hen’s teeth). But the small print hides a big price. I’d have to pay for the 2020 event and then pay again for 2021.

RideLondon is good and all, and if this was my debut I’d consider paying it, but perhaps not £158 good. I’ll enter again when the ballot process starts again in August.

Talking Of Holiday…

Er, I mean this year’s annual training camp.

Once again the team will be heading abroad for warmer climbs. This time to Scotland. I’m unclear at this time whether there will be a hard border to cross (or the start of a new bridge to Northern Ireland).

To tell the truth, I have no idea how cycle-y the trip will be. We’re going with non-cycling friends. I’m told the roads are quiet and a delight to drive (they’re not velo-folk), so I’m hoping this translates into quality bikery. I will report back.

I don’t think we’re talking South of France weather. I’ll be packing my Castelli Perfetto (I always pack my Castelli Perfetto).

We’re going here:

Map of Scotland showing Lochgilphead

… if anyone has any particular insights they want to share.

C’Est Tout

Those are my preliminary sportive plans for 2020. I’m looking forward to both events, and to the holiday. We just need this miserable February weather to pass through so we can all get back out on the roads.

Over to you. What events are you riding in 2020?

Let me know in the comments below.

Monty - Sportive Cyclist
Monty is an enthusiastic road cyclist with only moderate talent. He started Sportive Cyclist in 2013 to record the journey to his first 100 mile ride, the RideLondon 100. Over time the blog has expanded to include training advice, gear reviews and road cycling tales, all from the perspective of a not-very-fit MAMIL. Since you're here, Monty would also like you to check out his YouTube channel. Also, Monty really needs to stop referring to himself in the third person.

13 thoughts on “My Sportive Plans For 2020 (What Are Yours?)”

  1. Velo Birmingham & West Midlands 100, thoroughly enjoyed this one last year. I’ve registered for the new Velo Essex 100. The last couple of years I have done the short routes on the Round The Wrekin and Brewood Cycle Challenge [that was a wet one, a complete contrast to the previous year when riders were getting sunburnt]. I hope to expand on those this year.

    Reply
  2. Definites: RideStaffs Spring and Tour of Cambridgeshire (7/6/20).

    Possibles: Cycle St Giles Spring (10/5/20), Cycle Live Nottingham (June), Liverpool Nightrider (July), Tour de Broads (August), Great Shakespeare Ride (August), and Manchester-Blackpool (September).

    Reply
  3. Tour de Yorkshire sportive in May, just because it comes past us every year so thought I should give it a go. If last year’s UCI sportive is anything to go by, this one us gonna kill me! Velo Birmingham in June, did it last year and apart from the lack of crowds at the finish, was well supported by the locals all the way round. As an alternative to Ride London I’d recommend. Thinking of Velo Essex but since the cancellation of Velo North last year I’m not sure about entering if it means I end up having to transfer to 2021 Velo Birmingham as is what happened when North got cancelled.

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  4. Training camp in Logilphead? My best friend lives in Tarbert about 22 km south of there. I’ve been there to visit him and the roads are pretty rural but seem well kept. Quite a lumpy area but Mull is very scenic and it gets lots and lots of cycling tourists in the Spring and Summer so I’d definitely say bring your bike 👍

    Ps. When are we getting a vlog update on the shed/workshop?

    Reply
  5. Signed up for Velo Midlands as last year was superb, then in July 3 weeks on the ile de Re off the west coast of France which is specifically designed for getting around on a bike

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  6. My partner* and I are doing all the Sportives within striking distance of North East Lincolnshire as we do every year Monty, which means the majority of those organised by Sportive HQ, a fine organisation which never lets us down in terms of the quality of their events. First of the year however is always the Paul Kirk out of Brigg, organised locally by LincSquad as a memorial for one of their riders, a great way to start the season, flat out along the Trent and a lumpy return along the Lincolnshire Wolds, but invariably cold and windy (*she hates this!). Highlight of year is also not a Sportive HQ ride but the Humber Bridge Sportive, again organised locally (but entered via British Cycling), not the longest, max route is 100k, but the start and finish out and back over the bridge are brilliant as is the rest of the route round some very lumpy parts of the north Lincolnshire Wolds. I’d just like to point out to those who don’t ride round here, Lincolnshire is NOT FLAT unless you live way south around Boston (it’s a big county also). For all the rest of the season check out Sportive HQ Monty, enjoy!

    Reply
  7. Spring lambs from brentwood in Essex.I have wimped out on the 100 miler and doing the 67 instead.Then in july the london to southend which is a nice easy and pleasant ride.
    August is the ride london 100 followed by the new velo Essex 100 in september.Which by that time i will be 67!

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  8. Hmm 21st June, I’ll be in the UK visiting the in laws, was suppuosed to head to the Dolomites in the middle to trek but the CV looks like stopping this so this ride might be a it of fun – just have to see how to transport my bike thousands of kilometers whilst staying sane knowing it is in the hands of the baggage handlers 🤔

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  9. Hi Monty – another great blog post.

    I only started cycling last summer and at 48 I wasn’t sure what I was letting myself in for, but knew I had to do something to beat the 40’s/50’s spread!

    Well 9 months later I’ve covered 2,800 miles, including a solo 100 at Christmas & my first sportive, the Bourne Cicle last August.

    Suffice to say, I’ve loved every mile (well nearly every mile) & spent a small fortune on gear & clothing whilst reassuing myself that I’d have spent more & been less fit had I been propping the bar up in my local 3 or 4 nights a week instead.

    Anyway, this year being my 50th, I’ve entered 3 sportives so far – the King Edward 100 (Newark) in April, the Lincoln GP (long) in May and I’ve been successful in the Ride London ballot. I’m also doing a charity ride over a weekend in September which will take us from Bourne in south Lincs up to Sheffield, a day in the Peak district and then a tootle back from Sheffield to Bourne. Add all that to my goal of trying to complete the Strava GF challenegs every month this year, it’s going to be a busy one!

    So please keep the hints & tips coming and if you’re ever in South Lincs give me a shout on Strava.

    Reply
  10. Good luck with the training for your upcoming events. Shame about Ride London as it seems to get more and more difficult to get a place through the ballot every year…! I did the 46 last year, I got lucky in the ballot for this event in 2016 and 2019 which is not too bad*, but the roads were extremely busy last year, especially when rejoining the 100 route, I did not bother with the ballot this year (on holiday anyway).

    *I have failed in the ballot for the 100 every year since 2013, this is the first year I did not bother! I did manage to the do the event in 2014 on a charity place, the event then got shortened to 86 miles owing to the poor weather conditions…

    Instead, I am doing the Tour of Cambridgeshire 100 mile sportive on 7 June – closed roads event which I am hoping will be a good alternative to Ride London: https://tocsportive.com/ToC100_cycling_sportive.php If anyone has done this one, any comments gratefully received! Thanks.

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  11. I’ve only signed up for two so far; Fat Lad At The Back (75 miles) on May 9th, starting in Ilkley, and Le Petit Depart (80 miles) on May 31st, starting in Skipton – both 6,000+ feet of climbing
    Le Petit Depart would be a good warm up for you for the White Rose Classic – similar roads and will give you a heads up for the hill out of Settle (High Hill Lane) which may come as a shock the first time you do it 😂 I did the White Rose a few years ago, and it’s a nice spin. Don’t underestimate Langbar towards the end of the ride – it doesn’t look much on the profile, but after 80 miles it’s a bit of a stinger. The nicest climb on the White Rose has to be Halton Gill, though, it’s a lovely climb with some stunning scenery.
    All the best fella, having just come back from a weeks cycling in Mallorca, I need to put some miles in back here in “sunny” Yorkshire in preparation for my Sportives…

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  12. For those of you planning Tour of Cambridgeshire, I rode it last year as an antidote to Tour de Yorkshire which I rode (and walked up) the year before – Cambridge “hills” shouldn’t defeat you though the wind might slow you down. My recommendation would be to get there as early as possible to avoid the parking charges which increase nearer the time of the start (and getting there early means your car is nearer at the end). And, unlike RideLondon, there is one start time, so lot’s of very slow cycling until you actually get going – but great after that, pleasant roads and not so crowded as RideLondon can get.
    My rides this year include two Tour de Broads “doubles” – 100 miles a day for two days in the Spring and then another 2 x 100 for two days in the Summer. Norfolk might not have the hills of Yorkshire but will make you work hard nevertheless!

    Reply

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