8th October 2010 Words: Matt Lamy
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Geoff Saxon has been guiding Cycling Active’s sportive guinea pigs Nicola and Gareth’s training over the last half year but in his day job Geoff is also one of the key men at sportive organisers Kilo To Go. We asked him about the current sportive scene in the UK.
“One thing I have noticed is that sportives are changing slightly. In days past, there was always this contingent of hardcore sportive riders who talked about wanting mega-tough challenges, but we actually think that caused a bit of confusion. Now sportive organisers like us are recognising that people don’t want obscenely hard courses where they have to walk up hills, etc.
“What we think people really want are decent challenges combined with pleasant riding, alongside like-minded people, and just having an enjoyable day out. So I think sportives are becoming more attractive to a broader range of people with better thought-out routes and distances.
“There’s also lots more events out there — although I do think they vary in quality. In fact, my only frustration is that no single body or organisation has taken the sportive sector under its control to regulate events. However, I do think that if people keep riding these sorts of events, things will eventually sort themselves out.
“Certainly the numbers are on the up and up. At the Cheshire Cat event, our first sportive of the year, we had 2,700 people registered to take part. Then we had 1,000 turn out for the Cornwall Tor, which we think is a great event in a great part of the country. And then we doubled the numbers compared to last year at the Flatout in the Fens sportive.
“There’s just been a bit of a drop in sportive interest over the summer, with people going on family holidays and things like that. But the enthusiasm is starting to build again and in the coming months we’ve got The Rut Sportive, in Leicestershire, on October 3, and then our season finishes with the Tour of the Peak, on October 30. Both those events have had a lot of interest already.”
This article was first published in the October 2010 issue of Cycling Active magazine