National cyclists' organisation, the CTC has announced a major revamp for its annual programme of CTC Challenge rides with three new rides, the first of which takes place on the 27th of next month in Dorset.
Wheels in Wheels, the events company behind the Forest of Dean Spring Classic and a number of other sportives will run the Challenge Series which now much more on sportive lines with chip timing, feed zones, motorbike outrider and mechanical support, as well as a broom wagon.
In the past the Challenge Rides Series, which predates the current sportive boom by a few years was organised much more like a contental randonee with a way marked route, low fees, and plenty of tea and cake back at the ride HQ. The 2011 series will be different. One thing that will remain though are the cafe stops - there's a prize for the best cafe stop in the series, with local CTC groups advising on these and the the finer points of the routing for each of the rides.
All the rides will offer a choice of 100Km or 150Km routes except for the series opener which will give riders the choice of 50 or 75 mile options. The traditional Challenge Ride routes, the Ron Kitching in June, which is part of the CTC's York Rally, the Phil Liggett Challenge through the Derbyshire Peak District are augmented by two early season rides in February and May and a season finisher in October.
2011 Challenge Rides dates and locations
Feb 27 - Dorset CTC Challenge Ride & Sportive (Blandford)
May 29 - Guildford CTC Challenge Ride & Sportive
Jun 25 – Ron Kitching CTC Challenge Ride & Sportive (York)
Aug 7 - Phil Liggett CTC Challenge Ride & Sportive (Sheffield)
Oct 16 – Worcester CTC Challenge Ride & Sportive (Worcestershire)
The series kicks off next month on the south coast at Blandford Forum, Dorset taking in the Jurassic Coast and promising some stunning scenery then it's on to the CTC's hometown at Guildford in May. The organisers say they'll be giving the the Ron Kitching ride from the York Rally in June a makeover with a slightly tweaked route along with a few interesting riding options. Then it's the equally long established and ever popular Phil Liggett ride in August using the classic route through the Peak District including the infamous climb of Holme Moss. The final event of the series in October is on an already established course taking in many of the best climbs in the Malverns… possibly not the only sportive to be crossing the Malvern hills this year.
Explaining the thinking behind the change of format for the Challenge Rides, John Storms, the CTC's said:
“We want to take existing challenge rides like the Ron Kitching and Phil Liggett, make them better and also compliment them with other rides around the country.
“The new routes have been carefully chosen to be near areas where we have a strong CTC membership and we to give these areas a chance to show other groups and non members why these areas are so popular with cyclists.”
Entry is discounted for CTC members entering onlne at £17 for a single entry, for non-CTC members the price is £27. Any team of four can enter for £60 so member or not that's the most cost-effective way to take part.
To find out more and to enter head over to the Challenge Rides page on the CTC's website.
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