It is well and truly sportive season. All the classics have been and gone or are in the near future; Wicklow 200, Leinster loop, An Post Cycle Series etc.
Mention the word sportive to a racing cyclist and they will probably laugh at the thought of taking part in one.
All you have to do is to take a look at the A1 coaching lads vlog of them taking on the Wicklow 200 a few weeks ago.
Sportives aren’t for the faint hearted. The routes can be extremely challenging even at your own self-selected pace (just look at the state of Anthony and Aaron after the 200k’s around Wicklow).
The one thing that caught my eye was the craic. Unlike racing, there was stress, fear of crashing, disappointment of losing, getting dropped (well maybe in Buggles case) or frustration of braking equipment.
A sportive seems to be a great opportunity to ride around with your mates, along a spectacular route… with loads of sandwiches! What’s not to love!?!
You can use your best kit and fancy wheels without the fear of them ending up in pieces. You don’t have to worry about how much training other people have been doing. Once you have the correct training done for you to get around the event at your desired pace, it’s hard not to enjoy yourself.
To me it sounds like a no brainer.
Yes, racing has its place. The hit of adrenaline you get during a bike race or the indescribable joy you feel when you win a race cannot be replaced by a sportive.
However, they are two very different animals.
I remember laughing at Damien Shaw when he told me he was doing the Wicklow 200 as part of training for the nationals in 2015. He won the nationals a few weeks later… guess who got the last laugh there!
We still talk about it to this day. It was as hard it if not harder than any training session or race he would have done that weekend. He also did it with a good group of lads, had the craic and it put him in a great frame of mind going into the national championships.
I’m not saying we should all send back our racing licences and take up sportives. They are a part of cycling maybe we should all look into.
Sportives offer yet another way to enjoy riding your bike and sure that is the aim of the game!
See you at a sportive soon!