What is a CX Sportive?
In the U.K., CX Sportives are the fantastic new frontier of mixed surface rides that are combining the thrills of on and off-road riding into one awesome experience.
Road Cycling Sportives boomed in the UK in the naughties 00s and have attracted a huge following with over 400 events each year. Gran Fondos and Sportives are much the same thing, highly organized and well supported road rides, some featuring fully closed roads.
The CX Sportive is the U.K.'s answer to the hugely popular and growing off road Gravel Grinder scene in the U.S., with one big difference - the support you get.
"CX Sportive takes that tried and trusted format to give you a fully supported, exciting and entertaining event with top class organisation of our experienced team. The lines between road and off road disciplines have blurred, and that’s an enormously positive thing." said Harrison
CX Sportive Terrain
CX Sportive courses are designed to cover a variety of terrains:
60% road (mostly back lanes)
25% fast tracks (fire road/farm track)
5% singletrack (semi-technical off road)
CX Sportive Support
"CX Sportive events are built around a comprehensive support structure. From start to finish, sign up to results, we’ve got it worked out for you." said Harrison:
Choice of course distances
Full course marking
Detailed route map
Support vehicle / mechanical assistance on the course
Free energy drink
Support/feed station on route (80& 60k only. Drinks station on 40k route)
Free allocation of energy snacks for each rider at support stations and finish
On site catering – Hot and cold food and drinks
Electronic rider timing
Immediate results for each rider at the finish with Bronze, Silver and Gold standards
Website results service
Entry Prices for CX Sportive events are approximately £30, see individual events for details.
When you sign up for a CX Sportive event, you know you’re riding with the best events crew out there. The Cycle Events Organisation have been in business for 25 years. They have been running mountain bike events (trailbreak.co.uk) since the start of the 90s, and started Southern Sportive ten years ago, launching the first road sportives in the south of England, and introducing many features that have since become industry standards.
They spotted the CX Sportive boom on the horizon five years ago, and ran the first CX Sportive event in 2010.
In recent years the Bike Industry has caught up with the formation of the genre and bikes are now categorized as Endurance, Adventure or Gravel Bikes. These have more for giving geometries, with clearences for a huge range of wheels, tyres and mud guards. The latest feature disc brakes too.
It's now possible to buy a full Carbon Endurance Bike with disc brakes. By swapping the wheels and tyres over, you have endless possibilities to ride on and off road using the same bike.
There are definitely benefits to mixing up road cycling with off road cycling. MTB and CX bikers will see serious fitness gains from miles put in on the road and hill reps.
Road cyclists will see their bike handling skills soar through CX or Gravel Grinding, particularly once they've mastered corners or riding on uneven terrain.
CX Sportive and Gravel Grinding lets you explore roads less travelled.
Oh, it gives you the perfect excuse to have as many bikes as possible!
2017 CX Sportive Calendar
The formation of this new Genre is one of the healthiest and most significant changes in cycling since the mountain bike boom of the 80s and 90s, and the rise of Sportives in the naughties 00's.
It's technically and physically demanding, a huge amount of fun and very rewarding.
There are now several series from a whole host of organizers across the U.K.