This is the fourth season of Cyclo Sportif in Adelaide, an event set up for recreational cyclists looking for some new challenges, some great fun, and to improve their fitness and cycling in a safe, organised environment. I rode in a couple of the races last season with Port Adelaide, and quite enjoyed the experience that it offered. The Sportif is a series of eight races, in various locations around Adelaide, each with its own challenges.
When Cycling SA sent the notification around about registering teams for the new season, and after reading a couple of comments from cyclists in England trying to set up a Sportif team, I thought why not? In Adelaide, we have had an awesome take-up of the Cervo Rosso brand, and a lot of us ride together as often as we can, so our choice of kit was pretty simple really. So challenge 1, a team kit, easily solved. Challenge 2 though, was one that caused me a little bit of concern. To register a team, we had to have a minimum of five riders, to a maximum of nine riders in a team on the road at one time, and would anyone want to join in?
So I put a post up on our Facebook page, Cervo Rosso Riders Adelaide, in early October, and by the following day we had six riders already, and in three days, we had a full roster, plus more wanting to join in with us. Currently we have a list of twelve riders, with only three of us having had any race experience prior to this, which makes it an awesome team in y book. This means we have nine riders on the list who are keen to try the next level of recreational cycling, and set themselves some pretty steep challenges!
Our first race was Sunday in Flaxman Valley, a nice little spot heading out towards the Barossa, about 70km from Adelaide, with some beautiful rolling hills, designed to test the legs of newer riders. Our choices of distance were 20km, 40km or 60km, so given how new we are as a team, we only met some of our team members that morning, we opted for the 40km, which is a great little distance for a race, and give us an opportunity to work out how to ride as a team.
We decided that for this event, we would ride single file for as much as possible, and try to keep the stronger riders rotating out the front, and let the less strong riders make their own decision on taking lead for a while, or just roll straight back into the line instead. This format worked pretty well for us in the main, some of the climbs we fell apart a little as can happen, but quickly regrouped at the top of each climb, and continued to support each other. On our first lap, we overtook one of the Skinny Latte teams who had left before us, and shared some laughs with them as we passed, and then we caught up with one of the Centrals teams.
These guys provided us with a fantastic challenge, and really set us up for a great ride. We jousted with each other for about 20km, with one team opening up a lead over the other, and then the trailing team overtaking again. We had some fantastic fun with these guys, and a couple of them caught on pretty quick with what we were doing on the climbs, which was to help the slower riders up the climbs, not leave them battling on their own. We probably did not really drop them until about the last 10 to 15km, when possibly they began to tire, but we maintained our constant speed.
Coming in to the finish line, we caught the Five Bobs team, and managed to overtake them before the line too, which was another fantastic result for our team of riders, and really gave them a massive boost in confidence. One of our team members who is used to racing solo, got the finish line in sight, dropped into sprint mode, and bolted for the line, which was awesome to see him do after pushing himself so hard for 40km. Of course, in a Sportif though, it’s not the time of the first rider across the line, it’s the time of the last rider!
The excitement at the finish line of the whole team was truly inspiring, and they all felt so good, that they wanted to go again straight away and do a third lap! You really have to love and admire that sort of excitement at the end of the race, and the smiles on each riders face was massively rewarding to me, because it meant not only had we all finished safely, but everyone on the team knew that they had done an amazing job, and that they had supported an encouraged each other the whole way.
So, the results. Well, we were by no means the fastest team, but we did not set out with that in mind, we were though tenth out of 21 teams, with an average speed of around 27km/h. This was an incredible result for this team, and I am sure that it stunned a couple of them to realise what their average actually was, and the advantages that can be found when you work together as a team, supporting each other. But wait, a Sportif is not all about who was the fastest team, even though they do record your race times. No, a Sportif is about so many other things, and this is where the trophy’s are going this year. Extremely proud to say, that the first trophy of the day, so the first trophy of the new season, was for the Most Decorous Team, which went to Cervo Rosso Riders Adelaide!
What an incredible honour! Chris C said we now need to build a clubroom to house our trophy!! Hmm, not sure the budget will extend that far Chris…..
We love our cycling, and we love the support we get from friends, family, and sponsors. Sadly Sarah and Sonya could not race with us this weekend due to health issues, but both came out to be involved, with Sarah as our cheerleader, and Sonya as our photographer. Massive thanks to some of my amazing sponsors, Sukkie Hydration, Capilano Honey Shotz, and Chamois Butt’r, some of the things I do in cycling would not be possible without their support.
The biggest amount of thanks though goes to the incredible team that was, in no particular order, Chris, Juz, Matt, Sean, Ina, Liam, and Reidy. It was an honour to race with all of you, and I can’t wait until our next race, which will have some more new challenges in it! Bring on December 16th at Williamstown for more fun and adventures with great friends on bikes!