Le Sportif Epic Ride
Classifying a ride as epic may add a note of intimidation for the faint hearted. Epic is all too often associated with Type 2 Fun (M. Dawson), or fun after the fact. ‘That ride was epic’… refers to some appalling weather conditions, some excessive distance or so much climbing that a Sherpa would be intimidated.
But this is not the intention of the Le Sportif Epic Rides, as the hardy contenders discovered on the first of the series for 2014. Epic in this case serves to notify the rider that the route will be longer and tougher than a Le Sportif social ride, with added extras to make the day special.
Covering just over 100km and 1616m of climbing the roads were chosen for variety, beauty, challenge, and for the fact they are, in most cases, the road less trod.
Starting at the Severn View Services and crossing one of the seven wonders of the South West (the first Severn Crossing), the route traversed territory well known by Bristol riders, who made up the majority of the group. Despite this a high percentage of the route was new to many of the riders but still linked some local classics, including the zigzag out of Monmouth and crossing the Wye Valley. Although the weather remained dry the wind was up and the temperature was not the balmy, summery conditions of the preceding weekend. This kept the group rolling along, with the starting pace gilded by a healthy tailwind.
The support car kept bottles fresh and riders with a supply of food, dry clothes and waterproofs (which were happily not required). Matt’s homemade rice based energy bullets were initially met with scepticism, but then consumed with enthusiasm.
Lunch was taken on the road (supplied, of course, by Mud Dock) keeping up the momentum of the ride.
By the time the afternoon cake and tea stop rolled around the riders were looking and feeling pretty ‘Rapha’. The nurturing properties of the garden (and lemon drizzle) at one of the Wye Valley’s more sophisticated establishments, boosted flagging legs to enjoy some stunning vistas and delivered the ride to Chepstow in the welcome, yet reluctant, knowledge that the ride was well nigh done. A final burst through the top of town followed by a battle with a heavy headwind across the bridge saw to it that the ride was truly epic.
This is what they said:
Great ride Pip – we need more like this ! (Martin)
I think was very well organised and route was beautiful. (Ryan)
Im off out on the bike today with @lesportifcc @tequilero happy days (@realmarkkemp)
If this sounds like something you’d enjoy, a fully supported ride on an epic route, come and join us for the next one!