Billed as Britain's own 'Belgian Classic' the CiCLE Classic sportif was an obvious choice for HCtB. However after crossjunkie's initial suggestion the only two who were lined up on a rather windy July morning were otleyrich and G.
The early pace was very 'respectable' and we soon found ourselves in the leading group of around 8-10 riders, though there were a couple of riders up the road who had taken the 'chicken run' options and avoided the off piste sectors that characterise this event. By the first feed our group had whittled down to just four but unfortunately G was having a bad day and was a few minutes out the back, perhaps those Landcruisers weren't the best choice! My conscience won out and I regrouped with G and let the three others go. Eventually the remnants of the earlier group caught us. Now G's condition hadn't improved and I began to ratonalise "if I leave G to it he won't have to suffer trying to keep the pace, he can find an easier group etc etc" note there wasn't the "let's just ease up" option. Soon enough the dirty deed was done and I'd tucked in with the front pair and headed up the road. Working together through to the final feed station was a relief in the winds! That was something of note with this ride; competent, smooth 'wheels' that could ride cooperatively; a stark contrast to many sportifs!
I left my newly acquired companions at the last feed station and trundled on alone eager to get the last few miles out the way. Finishing a very enjoyable 112 miles in around 6.20. G rolled in 15-20min later having come round a bit. The offroad sectors added a fun element and in the dry conditions were relatively tame, it would be a different story in the wet (but still not Land Cruiser territory G!) mainly being gravel tracks or rough agricultural roads alongside fields lending an authentic Paris Roubaix feel to proceedings. Both of us rode the Oom Johans but I'd opted for Vittoria Evo Paves (clinchers) which were more than up to the task.
A thoroughly nice event with friendly low key but slick organisation - a 'must do'! The pasta pots however were a little 'nouvelle cuisine' ration wise, especially in G's hands!