Dartmoor Classic Launched

Hundreds of dedicated cycling enthusiasts, from across the U.K., will be heading west next spring when the Mid-Devon Cycling Club (MDCC) stage the inaugural Dartmoor Classic Cyclosportive. Rapidly becoming the country's most popular cycle sport

discipline, Cyclosportives are long distance, mass participation challenges over demanding terrain, with established events now selling out within days of entry acceptance. The MDCC event, through the Dartmoor National Park, will cater for a thousand participants, who can choose to ride either the 100 mile route or a shorter option of 100 kilometres (approximately 62miles).

Although Cyclosportives are not races, finishing times are recorded, which encourages the fittest riders to chase the fastest times, while the majority are just happy to complete the distance within the time allowance. The severity of the course coupled with the time restriction make cyclosportives much harder than the average charity ride and those who take part must be well prepared for their stamina and courage to be put to the test. 

Alongside the hardened regulars, who may ride several major events each year, the MDCC are also hoping to have a limited number of Cyclosportive debutantes, who are Devon residents, on the Newton Abbot start line on Sunday 13th May. 150 places will initially be reserved for those living within the county who are able to cycle but who do not currently ride or only occasionally use their bike to cover short distances. With the event over nine months away, inexperienced riders will have plenty of time to build up for the challenge, in a similar fashion to those who take on events such as the London Marathon. Having completed their first Cyclosportive, it is envisaged that the debutantes will then go on to become regular riders. The concept of providing this unusual opportunity is the brainchild of Devon County Council TravelWise whose brief is to promote sustainable forms of transport. They are also using the event to advertise their recently published Fit2Ride pack, which guides cycling newcomers through the basics of graduating from getting started off-road to safe and confident riding on the highway. By providing key funding for the Dartmoor Classic, DCC TravelWise has become the MDCC's first partner in what the club ambitiously hopes will become a must-do annual fixture, initially on the domestic scene, but with hopes of ultimate inclusion in the European Cyclosportive calendar. "For over three quarters of a century the Mid-Devon C.C. has been the county's premier promoter of cycling events so it makes sense for us to respond to the growing demand for Cyclosportives." said club chairman Andrew Parker. The club's president, former Tour de France hero Colin Lewis, who will wear number 1 for the ride said " We are committed to organising this event very professionally and are giving ourselves plenty of time to get every detail absolutely spot-on. We have the organisational expertise and manpower to provide a fantastic experience for all who take part and I am currently devising two spectacular routes around Dartmoor, which has some awesome climbs and loads of exceptionally spectacular scenery. Any cycling virgin who makes it all the way round will be massively proud of their achievement."

To obtain a copy of Fit2Ride telephone The DCC Road Safety Help Desk on 01392 446 124 or write to Devon Driver Centre, West Point, Exeter EX5 1DJ. To register your interest in obtaining one of the 150 places reserved for Devon residents e-mail robertson@swdc.freeserve.co.uk. For more information on the club's activities visit www.mdcc.org.uk

You may ask, “Where does our club fit in with this event?” The answer is in two ways. Firstly your members may wish to participate and the Mid-Devon CC hopes that they will. Secondly you and your club may be able to point out a number of contacts that fill the bill as the ideal “debutantes” as described above. With you help and encouragement you could find that having completed the Cyclosportive they will be hooked on cycling and become valued members of your club.

Ron Keegan 
Mid-Devon Cycling Club 
Event Media and Public Relations Officer - Dartmoor Classic 2007 
Tel: 01803 605008

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