Let’s do a Sportive said Fiona! Gulp! OK, lets see if anyone is interested. And guess what? 10 women said YES, great idea! So there it was, a decision had been made.
Sportives are long distance organised events, the cycling equivalent of running the marathon, which involves completing a set route. Sportive events typically range from anywhere between 50 and 150 miles and, although at their most popular in summer, there are events run all year round.
So now we had decided to do one, which one? And what do we do next?
We looked around and found Le Petit Depart – The Yorkshire Dales Sportive. Perfect it was on our doorstep, on some roads familiar to ourselves. Better still it wasn’t until June, giving us lots of time to practice.
Starting from Skipton, North Yorkshire, Le Petit Depart offers 2 fantastic routes to cater for all abilities. There is an 80 mile ride, and a 38 mile ride.
We set up an obligatory WhatsApp group and started sharing ideas about rides and a programme to build up our stamina and ability to complete the challenge. We went out riding regularly, building up the miles and hills. One of those training rides was one of the wettest and coldest ride we have ever been on as Belles. We must have been dedicated!
Before we knew it Sunday 4th June 2023 had arrived. We all set out on the 38 miler.
The sun was shining and before we knew it, we were called to the start line. Groups were given a briefing and set off at 5-minute intervals. And then we were off!
The route follows the Grand Depart Tour De France 2014 route up and back down the magnificent Upper Wharfedale valley, stretching right up into the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. The route returns via the stunning Bolton Abbey.
Halfway round we came to a food stop. Pork pies, cheese rolls, buns, flapjack, cake, sweets all to keep you going.
The hardest part of the ride was the climb out of Burnsall, steep and long! What an achievement to reach the top!
We all finished, those ahead stayed to clap everyone over the line. Well done everyone, what a grand day out on a bike.