Many of you may not know what a “sportive” is. I had never heard of them until I started reading European cycling blogs. In short, a sportive is the middle ground between a hyper-competitive road race and the very uncompetitive touring ride. Individuals do not race each other, per se, but rather shoot for a specific time goal. In this way, many riders can earn gold, silver, or bronze medals for achieving a specified time standard. For more information, click here.
This seems like a very interesting concept to me. Sadly, sportives are not as popular in the US as in Europe and I have been unable to find any outside the state of California. I like the idea, but not enough to travel 3,000 miles to participate in one. I accepted the fact that such things simply didn’t exist near me and went on with my life.
Until Sunday, when I found this:
The Air Force Cycling classic is held in Crystal City, Virginia, just up the road from where I live. Saturday’s events feature a professional race on a 1km lap (if you want your cycling race to be cool, you must measure the distances in kilometers). On Sunday, they have created a 12.5km course for cyclists of all abilities. I’m pretty sure I fall into that group, so I think I’ll sign up.
The course is laid out around the Pentagon, the U.S. Air Force Monument, and nearby Crystal City. It should be extremely cool to ride on city streets with tall buildings and by the Pentagon. As a retired Army Officer, the prospect of pedaling by the Air Force Monument is less enthralling, but still pretty neat. Rest assured I will be wearing my U.S. Army cycling jersey.
To get a gold medal, all I have to do is complete eight laps (100kms) in 3.5 hours. That’s an average pace of 19mph. This is an outrageously fast pace for me. The highest pace I’ve ever managed was 17mph over 45 miles. I’ll need to go even faster for an additional 21 miles. Maybe, just maybe, my fitness will be sufficiently improved and I can stick with the peloton (thus increasing my speed) and my adrenalin will be pumping and I don’t have a heart attack. If all those things occur, I might be able to get a gold medal.
In any event, it should be fun. My calendar is marked for June 11th.