Cyclo-Sportive: Le Terrier
Quiet steep roads kept riders constantly on the game was presented under sunny skies for all involved in the second Le Terrier in Lancashire.
Le Terrier was formed whilst pals were having a few malts after a particular hard day in the Dales on a club weekend. After one to many Graham Orr said 'what our club needs is a sportive', what did the others say 'well get on with it then', and so Le Terrier was born.
Two main routes to choose from 45miles and 80 miles, 156 riders set out on the second La Terrier cycle sportive in unpredicted sunshine. While the distances are shorter than most sportives on the market today, organiser, Graham Orr, has deliberately kept it short and no where is the route flat. Orr states ‘Miles doesn't mean quality or difficulty, no point adding junk miles for the sake of a number.'
Due to elections the HQ was relocated with the help of the willing local council to Williamson Park. Set in stunning grounds and parkland, it formed a great place for spectators to enjoy the day whilst loved ones were out cycling and will be the HQ next year.
Riders had an early start, being set off between 7am and 8.30am, with sports trident timing system to give an overall time. Faster riders grouped themselves and set off pushing the pace, while others were just happy to finish the ride. Reports of the quietest roads in the country has lead organisers to keep the entries capped at 400, to keep this quiet feeling for all.
Climbing started 2 miles down the road at Jubilee Towers and kept undulating to Marshaw where the route split, taking the 45 mile route on a shorter loop rejoining the long route at the Great Stone of Fourstones. 80 milers continued on and were tested not only in distance but also the climb of Harrisend Fell. Both routes could decide at Wray if they wanted to finish on an easier scenic route or take on the challenge of the gated section through Roeburndale. A unique part of the course where riders climb through a five gate section with inclines of up to 28%. Riders are expected to open and close the gates themselves before draggin up Scout Camp. Finally about 2miles from home participants ascend Stocka Bank starting at 25% and easing off to 20% where Williamson Park became visible again.
Back at HQ there was many praises for the organiser, Graham Orr, for the famous specially made flapjack at the feed stations and excellent signage. Riders and supporters relaxed at the café in the park talking of how the course profile was relentless and looked like a cardiac arrest.
Sportive Sound Bites
As the ride is in the second year, we have many areas that we would like to improve and rides we would like to add. Our aim is for riders to enjoy great rides in superb countryside and leave with happy memories. We have been considering having a Jubilee Tower hill climb on the evening before so that riders can test themselves over a few miles against the best in the country. We know that sportive riders like a challenge!
It has been many years since I have ridden in the Ribble Valley, and I had forgotten how stunning the area is, and also how hilly it is too! With a head wind for the outward section, the going was tough, but very enjoyable too on mostly quiet roads and a superbly scenic route. The legs were certainly feeling it by the end of the ride, but this is certainly a sportive within most reasonably fit peoples' abilities.
Le Terrier definitely has a bite! I think ever steep bit of tarmac around the Trough of Bowland was used and even some I didn't know existed. The views were fantastic and it is great scenery and quiet lanes. Finishing was the major highlight, as was the banana cake at one of the feed stations. I loved the descent from Bowland Knotts, very Alpine like and no traffic. It was a great event and my first but definitely not my last sportive.
My Cyclo-Sportive - Andrew Dillon
This was my first sportive and a great experience. Having trained on a mainly flat route between Hoghton near Preston to Parbold the amount of climbing was a bit of a shock to the system. Having reached the top of Jubilee Towers I was reassuringly advised that I had just completed the easier part of the route. I immediately thought what have I let myself in for! There were several occasions after, particularly climbing Cross O'Greet that I thought my legs couldn't take any more but somehow I managed it.
The route had spectacular scenery throughout, especially going the Trough of Bowland. A real gem of a place and so quiet with no cars. I remember only about five or so cars and four motorbikes in the first 30 miles of the route.
I found the organisation very slick at registration and the friendly staff made my first experience easy. It was a bit annoying that someone stole a sign towards the end of the route which added another three miles to the ride which cost me a time under four hours.
If you'd asked me at the finish line how I felt I would have said that I did not want to see another hill again. I put the bike in the car and phoned my wife. She told me my two children were chomping at the bit to go down the river on their bikes - you can imagine the reaction!
All in all I finished with a respectable position just above the middle of the field.