Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Letter published in Cycling Weekly - Sportive rides

Cycling Weekly, Letters Column (letter in C/W 19th March 2008)

Dear Sirs

Can I offer a historical perspective on Sportive rides ? Around fifteen years ago, while on holiday in the Alpine countries, I discovered the great endurance rides through the mountains that take place there almost every weekend. I entered and rode the Drei-Lander Giro, taking in the Stelvio Pass. These rides were then unknown to English cyclists, and the Stelvio ride was such a fantastic cycling experience that I wrote to CW with the idea of letting riders in this country know about it. You refused to publish that letter, and when I asked why, you said British riders weren’t interested in that kind of thing. Well I went back and rode the Stelvio again, and the Dolomite Marathon and the Otztal Marathon, the hardest of all, but I didn’t bother telling you about them. Then sometime around five years ago you suddenly decided that Sportive rides were the Holy Grail of cycling, and now about a third of the magazine every week is devoted to them: fashion is a funny thing, isn’t it ? Perhaps in another five years you’ll discover that dramatic, glorious and challenging form of cycling called time-trialling…

Best wishes

Peter Whitfield