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3 Pistes Cycle - 31st May 2015

alan_aalan_a Posts: 1,506
Is there a definitive (ok almost definitive) list of UK sportives somewhere online?

Injury means I cannot do a lot of cycling this year, so I thought I'd channel my energies into running a sportive (and triathlon at a separate location).

I have an amazing route that is not covered by any other sportives. It is a route that I believe will become a mainstay of the UK scene. I just want to make sure I don't clash it with anything nearby or major.

I come from an events management background and I have been involved in helping with the organisation of cycle, run and triathlon events for a decade… but I have a lot to learn. So, what are your main gripes / pieces of advice you can give me.

Thanks in advance.
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  • British Cycling also has a pretty comprehensive list.
  • alan_aalan_a Posts: 1,506
    Cheers.Those three links seem to have almost everything covered.


    So, what are your main gripes / pieces of advice you can give me.
  • Alan A wrote:
    Cheers.Those three links seem to have almost everything covered.


    So, what are your main gripes / pieces of advice you can give me.

    Make the entry price reasonable - no more than £20.
    Have good quality mapping available in advance in a variety of formats. e.g. PDF but also GPX files etc.
    You need a good venue to host it, indoors with toilet facilities, preferably showers and somewhere to get something to eat. Schools, race courses, rugby clubs are good examples.
    The entire point of a sportive is that you follow the signs rather than rely on your own nagivation, so it needs to be exceptionally well signposted. And then *all* of the signs taken down that day. (There's still some signs I see every day for a tiny ride which happened 6 months ago)
    Put some effort into your website overall!
  • davep1davep1 Posts: 828
    Feeding stations need to be in reasonably large car parks and NOT at the top of a hill or somewhere you may have just put in a big effort.

    Signposting is key, no-one wants to think too much about the direction, they want to be thinking about their pacing etc.

    I liked the gold/silver/bronze standards on the Legs of Steel, it means you can have something specific to train for and then aim for on the day. It isn't to everyone's tastes though, and the first time you do it may be more guesswork than judgement.
  • sientries is another good site for sportives that I use.
  • Hi Alan,
    I have only done a few local Sportives and enjoyed them all.
    A choice of distances is essential, ideally with the option to "push on further" or "cut it short" depending on the weather and how you feel. Making the decision on the ride rather than before hand.
    Feed stations, need somewhere to leave the bike for 5 mins. Nobody likes leaving on the floor.
    Make it a day out, the venue needs to have things to do, both for non riding family members and for the riders afterwards. Last ride I did had an ACDC tribute band which really made a party atmosphere.
    Marshalling and signing is important. I have done the Merlin ride for the last 2 years, and they have closed road for first couple of miles then police and marshals waving you across junctions and through traffic lights after that.
    Don't forget car parking and registration facilities. Wet and muddy fields are not the best.
    Entry price, would happily pay £30 - £40 for a good day out with all the above.
    Good luck,
    Dave.
  • Buy your bananas a week in advance so they're ripe for the big day. Might as well eat raw potatoes as a green banana.
  • alan_aalan_a Posts: 1,506
    Thanks all, keep em coming.
    Buy your bananas a week in advance so they're ripe for the big day. Might as well eat raw potatoes as a green banana.

    That's by far the best bit of advice yet.
  • Don't enter events that start too early in the morning. You might not have the time for a dump... there is nothing worse than riding on full guts
  • davep1davep1 Posts: 828
    Don't enter events that start too early in the morning. You might not have the time for a dump... there is nothing worse than riding on full guts

    I think early starts our good, but totally agree with your second comment. Did the whole of RideLondon wanting to go...
  • DaveP1 wrote:
    I think early starts our good, but totally agree with your second comment. Did the whole of RideLondon wanting to go...

    Having feed stations with toilets is important. A few of the sportives I've been on stop at the likes of community centres and church halls, so provide proper toilets. Much better than a table in a layby somewhere. Also means you can drink properly knowing there's a loo stop on the way ;)
  • marcusjbmarcusjb Posts: 2,412
    DaveP1 wrote:
    I think early starts our good, but totally agree with your second comment. Did the whole of RideLondon wanting to go...

    Having feed stations with toilets is important. A few of the sportives I've been on stop at the likes of community centres and church halls, so provide proper toilets. Much better than a table in a layby somewhere. Also means you can drink properly knowing there's a loo stop on the way ;)

    They make you censored on tables?

    Kinky.
  • When there's no toilets what else are you gonna do?
  • t4tomot4tomo Posts: 2,643
    Circular route with plenty of free parking and good toilet facilites - a lot of people need to drop their kids off before setting off.

    A to B routes just create a major logistical nightmare for all concerned.

    Avoid Box Hill, everyone is going up the damn thing and the locals are revolting.

    Don't let any knobheads who have no idea how to ride in close proximity to other riders enter (good luck with this one :wink: )

    Be interested to see how your grand claim
    I have an amazing route that is not covered by any other sportives. It is a route that I believe will become a mainstay of the UK scene.
    plays out.
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  • t4tomo wrote:
    A to B routes just create a major logistical nightmare for all concerned.

    Agreed. I do one of those a year, the Great North Bike Ride, and it's 60 miles straight down the coast. It means instead of going off with the bike myself I have to get the wife, and hence child and hence grandparents etc etc involved in getting me to the start and back from the finish. Ends up being a big PITA and not something I'd want to attempt more than once a year.
  • JSSJSS Posts: 55
    dead sheep wrote:

    http://www.sportive.com is fairly comprehensive now and you can search by country or distance from where you live, which can be helpful to eliminate ones you can't be bothered to drive to.
  • alan_aalan_a Posts: 1,506
    edited November 2013
    Thank you all for your feedback so far.

    So this is now a thing. Please give me you thoughts?

    http://3pistescycle.co.uk

    Sunday 1st June 2014 – The UK’s Highest Cycle Sportive

    As I wrote early we think this ride will become one of the UK's most iconic sportives. To ride this route on your own in 1 day is a logistical nightmare (we know we've done it). Hence why we are offering coach transfers for riders and their bikes.

    entry opens Sun 1st Dec 2013

    102miles or 165km

    2,000m of climbing
    2690m if you believe Strava

    The Three Pistes Cycle Sportive takes you through some of the UK’s most remote countryside, past three ski centres, ascending eight categorised climbs – including the two highest road passes in the UK – then finishes by climbing the 4th highest road to Cairngorm Ski Centre in the heart of the UK’s only Arctic plateau. Once you have cycled all 102miles all riders who finish before 4pm can then jump on the funicular for a relaxing ride to the UK’s highest restaurant. After all of that… jump on one of our buses taking you back to the start in Pitlochry.

    Alternatively, in the morning buses will also be available to take riders and bikes from Aviemore to the start at Pitlochry.

    Also our vans will take kit bags from Start to Finish.

    The three ski centre have been very encouraging, in particular Cairngorm who are offering every rider a free trip to the top of the mountain on their funicular.

    3pistesroute.png

    3pistesprofile.gif

    We're still working out the budget but we aim to charge approx £25-30 entry and £15 for coach transfer.

    Who's interested?

    p.s. Bike Radar forum members will get discounted entry.
  • Don't like the bus transfer thing, you could have easily made it a circular route. Still; good luck with your event :D
  • alan_aalan_a Posts: 1,506
    Don't like the bus transfer thing, you could have easily made it a circular route. Still; good luck with your event :D

    Sadly the UK's largest mountain range is in the way. A circumnavigation of the Cairngorm Plateau is 180 miles by road.
  • jaxfjaxf Posts: 109
    The bus transfer thing can be fine if well organised - Pedal for Scotland does this really well (although the route - man, what kind of nonsense is that????)
    I really like the look of this, the only thing that would stop me is the protests of my daughter, who calls herself the cycle orphan, who will still be in the middle of exams.
  • durhamwaspdurhamwasp Posts: 1,244
    Think the bus transfer is a negative, would be better as a circular route, even if it meant losing a ski centre.

    Look good routes, only thing I can see hurting your numbers is location unfortunately, and im not suggesting you move it elsewhere... Any way you could get a field and people use it as a campsite included in the price, or indeed come up with a deal with a nearby campsite or hostel?

    To answer your original question, price is probably the biggest factor for me, or more importantly value for money. The best value one we have done is the Colomba Cardio Classic - 60 mile route, £15 entry, great feed station in a church hall half way round, with energy drinks, sausage rolls and cakes galore, and then spud & beans with unlimited cakes at the cricket club to finish with. We also did the Monster Miles Sportive, £35 and also good value for similar reasons. The Monster Miles was well marshalled, whereas the Colomba had no marshalls, just really well signposted.
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  • alan_aalan_a Posts: 1,506
    t4tomo wrote:
    ….A to B routes just create a major logistical nightmare for all concerned.

    Avoid Box Hill, everyone is going up the damn thing and the locals are revolting….

    I think I have a 50% hit rate with you ;-)

    t4tomo wrote:
    Be interested to see how your grand claim
    I have an amazing route that is not covered by any other sportives. It is a route that I believe will become a mainstay of the UK scene.
    plays out.

    What do you think. Is my claim justified?
  • This is the week before yours

    http://www.aukweb.net/events/detail/11-68/

    www.strava.com/activities/23824827

    It's an Audax rather than a Sportive, It's longer and it'll certainly be cheaper. Not saying it's better or worse than your idea but I don't think your route is that inspiring. The whole faff with coaches would put me off, there's bound to be waiting time for coaches, waiting for bikes to be loaded and unloaded and coaches certainly don't come cheap. At the end of a long ride I like to be 'in control' of what i'm doing, sometimes I'll hang about other times I'll be straight in my car and off. The chances of bad weather are pretty high in Scotland and to finish a ride wet and cold and then sit in a coach would not really appeal let alone a trip on the Cairngorm funicular.
  • alan_aalan_a Posts: 1,506
    Hi Brakeless,

    Thanks for your input. I am aware of the Snow Roads audux, it is already sold out.

    I take on board your hesitation re coach transfers, however that is the point of this route. Many of our friends have previously said they would love to cycle this route, but it is impossible to do in 1 day unless someone is willing to transfer you the 60 miles from Aviemore to Pitlochry. I could turn it into a 160 mile audux, but trust me no-one sensible wants to cycle down the A9 or the bike path.

    There are showers at Cairngorm and we will take your kit bag from Pitlochry to the finish for you so that you have a warm dry and hopefully fun bus journey back to Pitlochry.
  • nweststeynnweststeyn Posts: 1,574
    I've ridden most of this route, some sections several times and it will certainly be tough. For me though, I wouldn't really do a sportive unless it was closed roads. I'd just go and ride on my own for free, but I know others will like it so I wish you the best of luck.
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,674
    3 pistes? Sweet.
    I'm looking for a double discount for each forum I've seen this on so far ;-)

    I can understand why some aren't that enthusiastic, but I think overall it's a matter of personal taste - some like things one way, some another. I personally have looked at these roads many times and thought how much I'd love to do a circuit like the Snow Roads - but I don't have the time or the fitness: this on the other hand looks like a manageable challenge for me, and I certainly appreciate the idea of logistical backup.
    I suspect you'll find quite a lot who agree with me.
  • Omar LittleOmar Little Posts: 2,010
    Interesting route, the bus transfer puts me off a bit, but good luck.
    Brakeless wrote:
    This is the week before yours

    http://www.aukweb.net/events/detail/11-68/

    http://www.strava.com/activities/23824827

    It's an Audax rather than a Sportive, It's longer and it'll certainly be cheaper. Not saying it's better or worse than your idea but I don't think your route is that inspiring. The whole faff with coaches would put me off, there's bound to be waiting time for coaches, waiting for bikes to be loaded and unloaded and coaches certainly don't come cheap. At the end of a long ride I like to be 'in control' of what i'm doing, sometimes I'll hang about other times I'll be straight in my car and off. The chances of bad weather are pretty high in Scotland and to finish a ride wet and cold and then sit in a coach would not really appeal let alone a trip on the Cairngorm funicular.

    The Snow Roads looks like a great event but it is limited in numbers and sold out months ago, so its not really a viable alternative.
  • napoleondnapoleond Posts: 5,990
    You lost me at coach transfer.
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  • I think it would work better if the bus transfer was at the *start* rather than at the end. As others have said, at the end of a ride you want to be able to do your own thing, the last thing you want to be doing is faffing on with a bus transfer. At the start it's not so much of a big deal.
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