The Magnificat Sportive Challenge was a new event this year building on the success of the Highclear Castle Sportive. The event was sponsored by TORQ and Matt was keen to have a team presence at the event and he very kindly enter us for the 127 mile distance!! It was an early start on the day, I was expected large queues of riders waiting for number boards and long delays, fortunately this was not the case, I was surprised at the excellent organisation. The facilities on offer at Newbury Race Course were a welcome addition.
We prepared ourselves for the ride eg packed our jersey pockets full of gels and bars. Then we waited until the deadline to set off allowing ourselves the opportunity to hopefully catch and overtake everyone else taking on the distance. A few riders were absent but we had a strong group for our team time trial! Anthony, Sion, James, Tim and myself set off at a gentle pace... for the first few minutes before settling into race mode and picking up the speed.
Nutrition was highly important on what would be a long hot day in the saddle, fortunately the many feed zones along the route were well equipped with pre made TORQ energy drink ready for riders to refill their bottles, there were all sorts of other temptations on offer including sponge cake, flapjack and bananas, as tempting as these goodies were we stuck to what we knew would work best and what was planned with an energy bar or gel along with a 750ml of energy drink every hour.
The hills along the route quickly appeared, we opted to be sensible on the climbs, for the start at least and instead put in a big effort in on the flats, each one of us spending some time on the front of the group before dropping to the back for a bit of rest. Along the way we caught groups of riders, some were struggling so we offered encouragement; other looked strong and tagged onto the team for a short tow.
Unfortunately along the way some of the team were struggling with the relentless speed, others were keen to push on and still felt strong. James, Tim and I remained together and all felt strong. James had a bit of a moment but the trusty life safer that it the TORQ guarana gel re-ignited his legs ready for the last 20 miles.
After 5 hours 30 minutes I realised that we were close to achieving a sub 6 hour time, however it would mean averaging a whopping 24mph for the last half hour! My legs were still feeling very amazingly good, James and Tim were also willing to give it a go. We absolutely nailed the last 12 miles but missed out by just 2 minutes!
6 hours 8 as our official time including stops. In total it was 6 hours 2 of riding, 126.5 miles and 8000 feet of climbing! We'd achieved the fastest time but more importantly we'd all really enjoyed the event riding as a team and having a laugh along the way. The organisation was superb and they’ve created a quality event, I hope to be back next year.