At this time of year as the sportive season enters hibernation it’s always good to be reminded that there is light at the end of the wintry tunnel.
There will indeed be plenty more challenges to get stuck into, more bananas to be eaten, more medals and finishers’ certificates to be glanced at and stuffed into drawers, more fleeting moments on which to wonder why you didn’t just take up wood-turning rather than putting yourself through this.
Ahem. Or is it just me?
But for all those of us who are already beginning to miss their agonisingly ecstatic allure, the newly-announced dates of Pendragon’s sportive events for 2011 may help us start to structure our sporting endeavours for the year ahead.
Pendragon's biggie is, of course, the multi-day Tour of Wessex which will be held on Spring Bank Holiday weekend Saturday 28 to Monday 30 May based in Somerton, Somerset, the ancient royal capital of Wessex. The organisers expect to attract up to 2,500 cyclists to UK’s original and biggest multi-stage sportive.
Next year will be the sixth edition of an event which in 2010 attracted riders from all over the world, with teams from Belgium, Holland and Luxemburg making the journey to test themselves in one of the UK’s biggest open cycling challenges.
The event is split in to three stages over three days of 106, 117 and 106 miles with two shorter rides of 23 and 76 miles also taking place on Saturday 28 May. The routes will again start and finish in Somerton and take in many of the South West’s most iconic locations, including Glastonbury Tor, Cheddar Gorge, Exmoor National Park, Corfe Castle and the World Heritage Jurassic Coastline.
Nick Bourne of organiser Pendragon Sports said: “We are delighted with how the event has continued to develop over the past five years. Next year we expect to see more cyclists than ever finishing the full three day challenge.
"Registration is now open on the event website and we would encourage people to sign up as soon as possible so they can plan their training - there is no better incentive than a major challenge like this to ensure a regular dose of exercise!”
The Tour of Wessex is the first event in the Pendragon Sportive Series, the full calendar of which is as follows:
Tour of Wessex: May 28 - 30
Tour of Exmoor: July 2
Tour of the Black Mountains: July 9
London 2 Monaco (Time Trial): TBC
Tour of Dartmoor: September 24