Three new rides plus full sportive format with timing chips, outriders, feed stations & mechanical support

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.

Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.


London Commuter [8 posts] 6 years ago

Thought sportives were the domain of British Cycling !

Usual CTC tactics, duplicating every other cycling organisations work and trying to be everything to everyone and failing on all counts ! Instead of pushing their own agenda why don't they remember the meaning of the T letter in their name and focus on that instead ?

CTC-enough said: http://crapwalthamforest.blogspot.com/2010/01/whats-wrong-with-ctc.html

Tony Farrelly [2893 posts] 6 years ago

Sportives aren't any more the domain of British Cycling than they are of the CTC indeed you could level exactly the same criticism at BC for duplicating, or trying, to the efforts of other cycling organisations. They've been running their Challenge Rides for years, they've pretty much been sportives anyway so what's the difference if they go the whole hog? The've contracted out the organisation of them anyway so it's hardly likely to be much of a distraction from the other stuff they are doing.

simonmb [430 posts] 6 years ago

@London Commuter: The more rides the merrier I say! 'Quality' of rides more than 'quantity' of rides is surely the focus, and these sound like they've got pretty good planners behind them. Maybe it will encourage other organisers to step up their own quality  41

antonio [1162 posts] 6 years ago

Long live Audax UK.

vorsprung [282 posts] 6 years ago

This does seem like a fuzzy idea. On the one hand they are saying they'll be "adding proper nutrition stations" on the other hand there will be "a prize for the best café stop on route"

The CTC themselves are not running the sportives, it is "Wheels in Wheels Events"

Sportives are a modern form of sport. And as such they are only concerned with one thing: money. The CTC get this right by charging £27 for non members

Miggers [67 posts] 6 years ago
antonio wrote:

Long live Audax UK.