Beeston CC Sportive 2013

Record number of riders enter best BeestonCC Sportive yet!

The weather gods were certainly smiling on us this year as Sunday 30th June lived up to its name, being the sunniest and hottest day for some time. No doubt the promise of good weather helped to swell the numbers, with nearly 100 people choosing to register on the day in addition to the 150 that had already signed up on line. Entries were evenly split between the 47, 77 and 111 mile routes, proving that the prospect of a long day in the saddle on some of the Peak's most challenging roads was a challenge to be relished rather than endured.


With people eager to set off on the long and medium routes, a queue of riders quickly formed at the registration tent, well before the official start time of 7.30am. The addition of timing chips for this year's event meant that people could set off whenever they liked, and most chose to start as soon as they were ready.

Ice cream and sunshine

After the 47 mile route riders had set off a short while later, we had an hour or so to take stock and wait for the first riders to return. As the riders started trickling back, the sun stayed out and the ice cream van did a roaring trade in recovery 99s, which were most welcome as the temperature soared into the high twenties.


By all accounts the routes were enjoyed by all, such as Mark Griffiths aged 45 from Woodborough, Notts: "At 45 it was my first Sportive and probably one that I will never forget. During the event you really got to see Derbyshire and the Peaks in all their glory. The views looking down either side of the Amber Valley from both Wirksworth and Crich really made the climbs that bit more extra special and even more worthwhile. Although I must say that the climb up Hindersitch Lane (aka The Widow Maker) was nearly a bridge to far for mind and body but the welcoming face at the food station soon put me back on track. If all Sportive events are this well run, especially with very helpful and cheerful Beeston Club members, plus the lovely soup and cheese roll at the finish, I’ll be a Sportive fan for life. My kids think I’m a hero – so thanks for that. Great day and see you next year."

we'll be back...

And so, the planning starts for next year's event and we already have some ideas about how to make it even better.

2012 Results, Photos & Feedback

Despite a wet start for some, 2012’s Beeston CC Sportive was even better than the previous year's, with a total of 189 entrants. 

After completing the event one happy rider commented, “Totally loved every mile (even the rain at the start), met some great people. Can’t wait until next year. Only one comment - Rowsley Bar OMG ! and I thought the Weaver Hill climb in the CC Giro Midland Monster was hard.

Another rider commented: “I cannot put down the list of superlatives for the way you and the team ran the event – other than simply a massive thank you to all.

However, we're not a club to rest easy on our laurels - micro chip timing is one way that we could deal with the increasing rider numbers whilst keeping the rider experience slick. Yet Beeston CC is keen to keep that “club feel”, with local route knowledge and friendly, human-scale service. “Our aim is to be the must attend club event that mixes hospitality with a real challenge,” said Andy, the event organiser.

Andy also praised the service that the club received from British Cycling in the lead-up to their event. “It was seamless, efficient and helped us have the space and time to concentrate on making the event a success.”

Summing up, we are really pleased with the way the event went. “We really appreciated the support of all the entrants,” concluded Andy, “However, we are keen to hear any feedback to help us improve the event further next year.

> Official timings and results (opens in Google.docs)

> Rider photos (opens in flickr)

Sportive routes get tested and reviewed

The long route was tested recently by several of our intrepid club members, and what a test it was! A full report will be published shortly, but here is one comment from rider Mark (pictured centre with Richard to his right and Jon to his left): "i think the best thing about our Sportive is that you ride through local (suburban) roads, into the picturesque Derbyshire lanes, through the Manifold Valley, then on up onto the Staffordshire Moorlands and the roof of the world, well England, and then back again!"

Testing conditions for The Peak of Sportives

Only a week prior to the planned Good Friday Ride (trialing the Medium Route of the Beeston CC Sportive 2012) the country was bathed in glorious sunshine and balmy temperatures not normally associated with the end of March. In the following 4 days we were treated to a dramatic reversal of fortune with plummeting temperatures, snow, hail and torrential rain. However, this did not dampen the enthusiasm of a record number of Beeston CC riders who turned up on this now annual club ride for what is a relatively young cycling club.

In Beeston the roads were dry, “summer” bikes were in attendance and the talk was focused on the task ahead – 75 miles of prime Peak District riding taking in such landmarks as Wirksworth, Parwich, Rowsley Bar (scene of the 1997 National Hill Climb Championships), Crich, and a little known climb called Bridle Lane – more on this later.

The ride starts with the rolling roads that take you into Derbyshire before the gradual climb up to Alport Heights situated on the hill above Wirksworth. As we climbed higher the previous week’s dramatic weather became more apparent. There was still a lot of snow and in places we were forced to walk the bikes due to the snow completely covering the road! This I think illustrates the nature of the quiet back lanes that have been used for this ride.

From then on in the roads became more and more treacherous with a combination of melting snow, gravel, and a harsh winter’s worth of grime.

Those of us on summer bikes began to regret our enthusiasm. A roadside meeting resulted in the group splitting with some riders taking a short cut to Crich and home with only the hardiest continuing on the full route.

While the Wimps were enjoying bacon butties and hot coffee in Cromford the Hardy Boys were taking in perhaps the best bits of the challenge with the brutish climbs and fast descents that lead you round from Winster via the formidable Rowsley Bar to the bottom of Bridle Lane. Interestingly the ride split again at this point with the Wimps taking in this wonderful little Roubaix-esque climb and the Hardy Boys diverting round it having let talk of its delights scare them into submission.

From here to home the ride is back on more familiar rolling roads that drop you back out of the Peak and through to ride HQ. If this was the proper sportive ride we would have been able to enjoy the wonderful Beeston CC homemade soup, as it was we were forced to return home safe in the knowledge that we had all completed a ride of stunning beauty, originality and fortitude.