The Hammer Sportive just has it all! Atmosphere, enthusiasm, attentive organisation, an incredible parcour and overflowing with passion! Any other UK sportive at this time of year can only, at best, be a pale imitation.
Spawned from the Spring Classic season, the Hammer Sportive moved to a slightly later date this year. Make no mistake, the parcour is tough, as you would expect from any real challenge w Spring Classic. With three routes to choose from everyone is faced with a challenge.
Nothing about the Hammer Sportive is easy but somehow you feel you have a sporting chance to put in a good time and achieve something special.
Weather played its part keeping average speeds down significantly – the strong and bitter north-easterly took no prisoners.
There was also a change to the normal route following the disappearance of the the Torcross Line across Slapton Sands during storm Emma so an extra 5 kms and a climb were added at no extra charge!
Despite the weather forecast an enthusiastic start line set off promptly with the mad dash to Kingsbridge and then to Torcross. The route took us across the first part of the Torcross Line and the headwind took its toll (50 x 23! flat as a pancake). The subsequent climb through Slapton was a blessed relief!
My aim was to get round without stopping so I passed the first feed station and enjoyed the descent and climb to Stoke Fleming. From now on the climbing is relentless and comes in blocks separated by sections of fast flowing roads. Most surfaces were good but some with degradation.
The lanes we bounced up and down had survived the winter in better shape than expected. Cars created chaos over Dartmoor especially around Shipley Bridge before we descended back to the lower parts of the South Hams.
The Modbury Wall is always an exciting climb averaging 20%+ for most of the 250 metres but nobody was walking. Turning east again the wind bit into the riders in exposed sections but before too long we were on the last leg past the final feed station and heading towards Hope Cove or No-Hope Cove depending upon your view at the time.
Being held up on descents by cars proved aggravating especially Loddiswell and to Hope Cove. On the Loddiswell descent the car in front of me kept trying to go faster but when they saw me in their mirror they pressed on again only to find me still there!
The final climbs from Hope Cove to Malborough and then the Alpe de Salcombe switchbacks from North Sands were quite sheltered from the wind but by this time it was difficult to make up time.
A warm welcome by Hammer Sport on arrival at the HQ greeted everyone. We soon sat down to a fantastic post-ride meal and liquid refreshment to swap stories of an epic day awheel. Everyone agreed it was a hard day but we all relished the feeling of accomplishment and the satisfaction of a job well done.
Now we’re setup for an amazing season! Next event is Les 3 Ballons on 9th June, followed by Morzine Haut Chablais and the Supergranfondo Galibier/Izoard – an exciting season awaits and Hammer Sportive has set the juices flowing.
Aspire ~ Prepare ~ Achieve!
If you want to experience a Hammer Sportive, check out their events at Hammer Sport Events. In particular, for the UK, the Hammer Martello is something special and an incredible event at the end of the season for individual riders and teams. As with all Hammer Sport events, entries are limited – it’s part of what makes them special and allows the passion to rise to the surface!
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