Focus: Five late season cycling events
If you’re finding it hard to stay motivated to train through the coronavirus lockdown, the best way to keep focussed and maintain discipline is to book into a big event. Having a date in the diary to set your sights on gives you a reason to train and a ride to look forward to!
While a lot of early-season events have cancelled for health and safety reasons, there’s still plenty of great rides to be had later in the year.
Check out our five favourite late-season events. The selection gives you options no matter what type of riding you do and how hard you want to train! Get booked into one soon, mark your diary and feel the motivation come rushing back.
Marmotte Alps – 9 September
This is undoubtedly the original and best European cyclosportive. The 174km and 5000m of climbing in the heart of the French Alps is a bucketlist ride for any rider, and certainly not one for the fainthearted. The organizers recognized just how popular the Marmotte is by re-scheduling the event from its traditional July start to ensure that riders could still get their fix without coronavirus fears.
Set across four huge mountain passes with a summit finish on the mighty Alpe d’Huez, this is a massive challenge for anyone. However, the beauty of the event is that no matter how fit you are there’s still a place for you. While the front hundred or so riders participate in almost race-like conditions and finish in under six hours, the last finishers take nearly double that time and enjoy long breaks for fuel and photos of the magnificent mountaintop scenery.
Raid Pyrenees – September, dates vary
Raid Pyrenees is a classic ride for anyone that loves adventure and ascents! The multi-day ride crosses the Pyrenean mountains along a 750km route that takes you from the Atlantic coast to the Mediterranean sea. Along the way, you take in some of the mighty cols from the Tour de France, including the Tourmalet, Aubisque and Aspin.
The Raid isn’t one set event, but a challenge riders take on in their own time. You can tackle the route totally independently if you’re brave and fancy bike-packing, but many tour providers also provide support packages. A package typically includes accommodation, a support van and luggage transfer from hotel to hotel – so you can focus on the mountains and stunning Pyrenean scenery rather than worrying about logistics.
It’s one heck of a challenge and a mighty test but with the right training, a little willpower, and a lot of cake, any competent rider can do it. We’re huge fans of the Pyrenees here at Pongo having raced in the area many times and using it for our photoshoots – so go check it out!
Etape Lock Ness – September 13
This is a hugely popular ride thanks to its iconic and stunning location – but fortunately, there are still spots for the September event available!
The ride is on entirely closed roads that circumnavigate the loch, allowing you to ride freely as you look to spot the infamous ‘nessie’.
The 106km loop isn’t a race, but does include a timed ‘King of the Mountain’ time trial up a 9km climb. So you can cruise through the majority of the ride and enjoy the epic Scottish landscape, but then give it your all and race your mates on the timed segment, providing you the perfect balance of type one and type two fun.
London to Brighton Cycle Ride – September 13
Not so much a ride as a rite of passage, every cyclist has to pedal from London to Brighton at some point.
The most popular official London to Brighton event is ridden on behalf of the British Heart Foundation in June, but unfortunately, organizers have had to cancel the ride due to coronavirus. But fear not! Other rides are available! The London to Brighton Cycle Ride, September 13, is still going ahead and can be ridden to raise money for a range of charities.
The ride starts from Clapham Common in South London, meaning you don’t have to spend too long in the traffic, and heads into Brighton over the infamous Ditchling Beacon, a fearsome little climb that will earn you some fish and chips at the finish on the sea front. Why not do your bit and raise money for a coronavirus charity while you’re at it?
Bikingman Corsica – October 26
If you want a real challenge to keep you focussed through summer and see you go into winter fitter than ever, Bikingman Corsica is the one for you.
The 850km bikepacking event will have you ride the full circumference of this beautiful French Island, taking on over 15,000m of climbing along the way. You need to be prepared to ride far and ride hard, as there’s a five-day time limit!
You race fully unassisted, meaning you carry your own luggage and have to find your own food – so it’s a test above just a bike ride! One great twist about Bikingman is that you can race as a two-man team, so why not rope in your training buddy to do it with you?
Whether you ride alone or as a pair, this will be an adventure of a lifetime. Corsica is a stunning island and even in October, the Mediterranean sun still lifts the temperature to over 20 degrees C.
If you think we've missed any of our list, drop us a comment below and let's discuss!