After a break of three years we were looking forward to welcoming riders back to Grange Farm for the 7th Welland Valley Macmillan Sportive. Once again, the weather gods had been kind and more than 250 cyclists had the ideal conditions to tackle one of the five routes on offer. The 100km and 65km road routes proved the most popular with riders wending their way through the picturesque East Leicestershire countryside. Both routes were not without their challenges and all riders had to climb Ridlington Hill, crest Lyddington Hill and then after leaving behind the stunning Eyebrook Reservoir the final challenge of the Devils staircase. Over a 1,100 metres of climbing for the longer route provided a testing but enjoyable challenge for many.
For those looking for an off road challenge this year we added a 100km route which took riders around Rutland Water before heading back up through Tilton on the Hill. The hardy riders who undertook the 100km and those that completed the 65km were rewarded with varied but challenging terrain before they returned for a well-earned beer.
As the riders started returning to Grange Farm the sun started shining and it was good to see everyone relax post ride, in many cases helped by the post ride beer donated by Langton Breweries. A special cheer was reserved for the return of the LEJOG team of Lucy Smith, Mike Ives and Matt Plews, with Lucy and Mike completing the long route on their tandem. Excellent training for what is coming in under three weeks’ time.
We are still totting up the sums, but we hope to have raised over £6,000 for the Market Harborough Branch of Macmillan Cancer Research who have kindly agreed to support the LEJOG team who are fundraising for Thomas’s Fund.
These events require a lot of support from the club, but especial thanks go to Steve Alden who helps out both before and during the sportive, to Rob Pullen, Lis Gibbs, Simon Dixey and Jon Durnin who set out the road signs late into Friday evening, to Pete Bell, Charlie Holton, Dave Bayliss and Chris Orfeur who collected them all in again, and to all those other members of the club who helped on the day.
We spoke to the caretaker at the Braunston Feed station on Sunday and he said that ‘the road looked like a field of mustard’ which is a fitting tribute to all the club members that supported this great event.