Sunday 19th May 2013 saw a multitude of riders make the most of the sunny weather to compete in the 80 Km and 80 mile versions of the classic Nomads route. With competitor numbers rising to record levels (over 200 riders participated) the event is maturing in to a mainstay of the local and regional sportive calendar.
Many local clubs were represented which shows that the two routes are now becoming fixtures in local club run calendars. The number of unaffiliated or new riders was also up. The 2012 "Wiggo" effect is still in evidence as those 2012 purchases translate in to 2013 achievments.
The 80 mile route proved to be tough going in places. For the uninitiated the climb at around 40 miles from Hexton to the approaches of Lilley saw many reaching for the 28 tooth sprocket. The mountain goats who traversed it more rapidly had the chance to emulate the Giro d'Italia competitors who were facing the Galibier at the same time. Unlike the professionals, the sportive riders were only a matter of miles from Emily's Tearooms in Whitwell which was the second of two well stocked feed stations. Far more pleasant than sub-zero Alpine conditions.
The terrain around Hertfordshire may not be mountainous but it was certainly taxing and the area around Bennington and Walkern was a point for many on both routes where their resolve became tested. Quite a few groups had emerged on the road at that point with experienced club riders bring some of the newcomers and soloists in to small bunches to help them along. The sub-heading for next year may be "the friendly sportive" as the atmosphere and camaraderie at the HQ and on the road was palpable.
The 80 KM event was no less undulating or challenging than its big brother and with a common set of hills, descents and rolling roads all riders could bask in the knowledge of common experience and shared achievement.
The event, like all others the Hitchin Nomads stage, was entirely organised and delivered by volunteers - by cyclists, for cyclists.
Nick Senechal was the driving force for this year's event and worked tirelessly with Guy Travers of Go Beyond to build on the previous two year's incarnations. On behalf of the Nomads and co-participants our thanks is duly recorded to our excellent team. The event has risen awareness of, and funds for Teach Africa so all in all a great and worthwhile endeavour all round.
Many thanks too to our sponsors and event supporters, including Paul's Bikes, Hitchin. The eponymous owner savoured the delights of the 80 mile route for his troubles too.
Go Beyond Press Release (pdf)