See you in Hell!

Next  year’s sportives are set to sell out fast, so Cycling Weekly’s 2011 sportive calendar will be essential reading for anyone who doesn’t want to miss out on the best events.

It’s going to be a packed season, beginning mid-January and running until the weekend before Christmas.

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You’ll be spoilt for choice with your old favourites supplemented by plenty of exciting new promotions.
It’s good to see one of my personal faves still going strong after 26 years.

I first rode the Hell of the North Cotswolds back in the mid-Eighties, long before we started calling such events sportives. In fact even mountain bikes hadn’t been around too long back then!

It’s still my most ridden event – five outings and counting. You never tire of the idyllic countryside and depending on the weather it can be a whole new riding experience every time.

If it’s wet, comparisons with a ploughing competition are apt but in dry, bright conditions you’re in the big chainring most of the day on the unique mix of tarmac, bridleway and tracks.

As always, the Cotswolds event will be the same date as Paris-Roubaix, that other Hell of the North on April 10.

Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly