Guest Blog: Wiggle Wight Winter Sportive Ride Report

One of my team mates Jack Elton-Walters rode the Wiggle Wight Winter Sportive on Sunday and had a very enjoyable ride. He very kindly offered to let me blog his ride report; I hope that it will inspire you to come to the Isle of Wight to ride your bike sometime soon. For further ideas on a weekend cycling break on the island, please check out this blog: A Weekend Cycling Break on the Isle of Wight.

Jack's Ride Report:
"Coming right at the end of the season, and on my own glorious Isle of Wight, I just couldn’t miss the opportunity to ride another Wiggle – UK Cycling Events Sportive.
A few weeks previous I’d done the South Downs Sportive and, despite a funny five minutes in the middle, had pretty much loved the whole thing. So with this one starting just 30 minutes from my house, I had to take part.

My weapon of choice for training, racing and sportives is a 2010 Fuji Roubaix, on which I recently upgraded everything except the frame. A new carbon bottom bracket, carbon cranks, new wheels and entire new Centos drivetrain gave some much needed weight saving and a far more efficient ride.

In terms of riding experience, mine is fairly middling and it’s only this year that I’ve properly got in to cycling, although my love of the sport dates back much further than that. Starting as a necessity when commuting to a summer job on an old Kona mountain bike, buying my Fuji whilst at university kick started a love affair with the sport that I can’t see ending.

This year I joined and raced for the Isle of Wight’s Wightlink-LCM Systems Cycle Race Team, taking part in closed circuit races across the south of England. I also got into triathlons, completing the London Virgin and West Wight events.

Leading in to the sportive I was quite excited to get out and ride my home roads with a larger number of riders and in a structured event; rather than just turning home when the legs feel a bit heavy. Once I got going, the enjoyment of the whole thing was increased by how well organised the day was: impeccable signage, friendly staff and a very well thought out route. 

The route itself, as I mentioned, was very well devised. Taking in some of our best and most testing climbs, great scenic rolling roads and some fast flats it had something for everyone. The first hour or so needed particular concentration due to heavily frosted roads, but some well-placed event marshals ensured the worst icy patches were highlighted. Avoiding larger roads and busier towns, the route weaved its way around some of the Island’s – and UK’s – best natural scenery. Although far from alpine in profile, the Isle of Wight is certainly not flat, and the route made the most of this by never quite letting riders settle before the next section of ups and downs.

Obviously not competitive by definition as a sportive, it was great fun over taking middle aged men on bikes worth more than the average car on the smallest of hills, only for them to thunder past on the following descent, and lag again on the flats. Interactions with other riders varied from a full day’s riding with my two mates, to courteous hellos as we overtook (or were overtaken by!) other participants. There were also sections where we were joined by other riders: lone rangers just tagging on for a bit of a rest and whole groups who we worked with to pace our way up the climbs.

The atmosphere on the day was jovial and happy, and fairly determined in the face of the wintry weather. Everyone was in good spirits and glad to be out riding. Despite the cold the sun was out and made for a better day’s riding.
Generally on the ride I felt great, physically and mentally. We went off at a fair pace, but riding with two friends who are slightly slower and have a few less miles in the legs meant I was never really putting in huge efforts. I stretched my legs on a couple of climbs, particularly when there were people half way up to aim for, but all in all just took the ride at my leisure and enjoyed every mile. Unlike on the South Downs Sportive, when I didn’t eat or drink at regular enough intervals, there was no lag this time and I felt on top form right up to the end.
After the ride I still felt pretty alright, although the cold got in a bit and my legs were slightly stiffer than I would have hoped on the commute the following morning. All in all this was a well-organised and enjoyable event that I’d recommend to any rider of any ability. I’d gladly ride it again – and intend to. I’m also already looking at the UK Cycling Events calendar and have ear marked a few sportives through the season, dotted between road racing and triathlons, mainly as a rest from competition and also to maintain the endurance base I’m building this winter."


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