Around 700 cyclists of all ages and experience completed the annual Cycle Derby Spring Classic Sportive on Sunday (April 23rd) – including the event’s first King and Queen of the Mountain.
The Sportive, organised by Cycle Derby and HUUB Events, started and finished at Markeaton Park and included three different distances on picturesque routes around South Derbyshire and East Staffordshire.
The highlight of the event this year was the new Document Network Services (DNS) King and Queen of the Mountain challenge which was a 100m uphill section of Long Lane between Radbourne and Longford.
The challenge was at an early stage of all the distances – 40km, 80km and 160km – to give everyone the opportunity to test their strength and stamina on the time-chipped section.
King of the Mountain was Hayden Smedley (36) from Hilton who tackled the stage in just one minute 28 seconds.
He said: “This was very much a team effort. My co-riders Mark Doleman, Campbell Wigley and Simon Rolfs took it in turn to take the wind and deliver me up the hill and I am over the moon that we did it.”
Queen of the Mountain was Sarah Martin Smith (36) who is a teacher at Derby High School and tackled the hill in one minute 53 seconds.
She said: “It was fairly near the beginning of the ride so it was punishing but a great addition to the sportive challenge.”
First across the finishing line and to collect his medal was seventy-year-old veteran rider Chris Proud from Derby.
Mr Proud rode the 40km route as part of his training for the veteran European duathlon championships in Spain next week.
He said: “This was a great warm up for the duathlon and I am pleased with my time of one hour thirty seconds. The conditions were perfect and it was a lovely route to ride on a Sunday morning.”
The first woman across the line was Sarah Stables (43) from Stapleford who was taking part in her first sportive.
“I cycle to and from work but this is the first time I have taken part in an organised event. The Queen of the Mountain stage was rather a challenge and I could certainly feel my legs at the top.”
The 80km stage attracted the most riders and the first across the line was Mike Bull from Birmingham who was also entering his first sportive – closely followed by a bunch of riders.
Mr Bull said: “It was a lovely route and, although we were all putting everything into it, it was a lovely sociable ride with everyone chatting and checking each other were OK.”
The first 80k female rider was Louise Hughes from Long Eaton – a member of the local triathlon club.
She said: “I am training for a half ironman event in a few weeks so this will hold me in good stead.”
Experienced cyclists Rob Smith from Nottingham, Steve Gregory from Wirksworth and Colin Nadin from Wirksworth were the first to finish the 160km route having ridden most of the route together.
And the first woman to complete the 160km distance was Derby Mercury rider Melissa Ford and her Rolls-Royce colleague Chris Young. She also came second in the Queen of the Mountain challenge.
Melissa said: “Chris and I are training for the Fred Whitton Challenge in the Lake District which is renowned as being the hardest race in the UK so this was good training.”
A record number of teams entered the sportive - vying for the Geldards Team Challenge title which will be confirmed at a future date.
The Team Challenge, sponsored by Geldards law firm in Pride Park, was an opportunity for groups of up to ten cyclists to work together in a bid to travel the greatest distance. The team with the greatest total distance or the fastest KoM/QoM in case of a tie, will take home the coveted title.
Back at Markeaton Park, staff from Park Bikeworks carried out any repairs needed and Derbyshire Police were on hand for bike registration and advice on anti theft.
The Derbyshire Sporting Joint and Marcus Leon Martinez also offered massages to ease away any aches and pains after the ride.
The sporting event was raising money for Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre and Ashgate Hospice Care.
Mark Smith from Cycle Derby said: “This was another great sportive and the feedback from the riders has been fantastic.
“Although everyone wants to achieve good times, this was not a race but a personal challenge although the King and Queen of the Mountain added a new and exciting element to the day.”
Claire Duffin from HUUB Events concluded: “The Sportive is an important part of the Cycle Derby and HUUB Events’ objective to encourage more people to become active and healthy.
“The great thing about all three of the Derby Spring Classic Sportive 40k, 80k and 160k routes is that they are otherwise relatively flat and therefore very achievable for everyone – whatever their cycling experience.
“We are very grateful to DNS who came on board alongside Geldards law firm to sponsor this event. Together they have provided families, individuals and business teams to get out on their bikes and enjoy a day of group cycling.”
For more information about the routes and to enter future events, including the North Derbyshire Sportive in September, please visit www.huubevents.com