It’s a grey, rainy day here today at Cowbell HQ, winter is definitely coming. This is typically a time of rest, followed by steady winter miles in preparation for next year. It can be hard to put the millage in without a goal in mind. Take your pick of any of the following sportives and races to have an epic ride planned for 2015 and all the motivation you need to ride through a grim winter.
The Fred Whitton is a challenging early year sportive around the Lake District, in May. It packs in over 3000M of climbing in the 100M route. With two big climbs near the end of the route. Punchy.
Tour of Flanders
The Ronde van Vlaanderen, or Tour of Flanders, is a one day classic, favoured by the tough men and women of Belgian. Follow in their footsteps with this challenging sportive.
Cobbles and pain. Glory upon entry to the velodrome. Paris Roubaix is another infamous one day classic, which only the toughest of classic riders can conquer. Relive the scenes from the professional peloton by riding the Paris Roubaix Challenge in April. You’ll just need to hope that your body and bike can cope with the rough ride.
Tour of Wessex
The Tour of Wessex is a three day, three stage sportive with cumulative timings across the stages. A bit like being a professional for the (long) weekend.
The Dragon Ride is another tough UK sportive, with distances from 40 – 300 (!) KM. Enjoy Wales’ stunning and challenging scenery in June.
Haute Route Alps
This might be the closest you can get to racing like a professional in the Tour de France. Haute Route is a multistage, week long sportive/race in the Alps. There are support cars, massages, road closures and everything else a professional would encounter. This is not an event to be undertaken lightly.
Megavalanche is a mass start enduro race down a glacier in the Alps. It’s one of the first and most epic enduro events around.
Paris Brest Paris
An epic audax, held every four years. 2015 sees another instalment of Paris-Brest-Paris. Ride 1200 KM in a maximum of 96 hours (5 days). The only way to qualify is by riding a series of 200KM, 300KM, 400KM and 600KM audaxes in the run up.
Maratona dles Dolomites
Supposedly one of the toughest European sportives, taking in some of the epic climbs from the Giro. The Maratona dles Dolomites is another hard challenge for the mountain goats.
The Transcontinental Race is a self-supported, single stage race from London to Istanbul. As fast as you can, obviously. Whichever way you like, as long as you visit the three check points. It’s only for the bravest or most foolish of cyclists.
3 Peaks Cyclocross
The 3 Peaks is the toughest cyclocross race in the UK, if you’re up for a challenge.