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A rider's perspective - Grange Spa Sportive

Great route.
Rolling countryside.
Quiet roads.
Really well organised.
Well stocked feed stations.
Brilliant start/finish location with super atmosphere with lovely food. What more do you want?!

After only a couple of years the Trident Grange Spa Sportive has become a firm favourite of mine in the calendar. Coming relatively early in the season it’s a great way of testing the how the legs feel after what for me is the first serious training block. And with multiple distances to choose from, there’s something for everyone.

The 2023 event took place mid May and I decided on the “Long” 90ish mile route (approx 1,100m climbing). Being relatively small in size means you certainly get the personal touch at the start and feel a long way from just being a “number” as you can at some bigger events.

It was a pretty cold and foggy spring morning at the Grange Spa in Pointon, so having completed the “pre-flight checks”, I zipped up my gilet and rolled through the start gate. Having decided to ride solo, I settled into a nice rhythm to build some body heat and enjoy the quiet lanes and countryside. Then realised error number 1, left my gloves in the car . No matter, don’t fall off, you’ll be fine!
Wind was pretty light, legs were feeling good and the early morning mist had started to lift by the time I got to the first feed station after about 25miles. The feed station is well placed in the centre of the figure of 8 of the 90mile route, so I knew I would be back for a second pass later in the day. Enjoyed a few minutes to chill out and take in calories, then back out for second part of the ride around Leicestershire, and Belvoir.

Error number 2. Lack of concentration and pushing with my head down meant I missed an arrow on a left turn and continued on in the wrong direction. That will teach me to not load the course into my GPS. Ended up adding 5miles in total to the distance, but I wanted to ride closer to 100miles anyway… right?!
When back on the right course, I passed and started chatting to an American guy from the US Airforce who was training for his first Ironman. He was great company and we ended up riding together for the remainder of the sportive, enjoying some of the nicest countryside this part of the UK has to offer.
Before too long we were back at the feed station. Re-stocked, re-fed and ready to take on the last 25 mile or so. It was my longest ride of the season so far and riding solo or on the front for the majority of the ride, meant that with about 10miles to go, my legs were starting to fatigue on some of the ramps. So was grateful to my American friend to come through and give me a tow for a few miles to recover.
Smashed an emergency gel and we were back in business for the last stretch. Back to the finish with my fiancé waiting with a big smile. Tucked into some lovely hot food from the caters (included with entry fee) and a couple of “recovery” beers with friends.

There was a real family friendly atmosphere with kids running about on the grass and music on. Happy days! All in all, what a great day. This is a what riding your bike is all about.
Trident and the Grange Spa, “chapeau”! Great event!!! See you for the next one! 

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