Maglia Rosso cycling shop have held their second ever Mille Maglia sportive event, with about 90 participants negotiating the off-road endurance course.
Matt Denny, son of race organiser and shop owner Barry, said they offered entrants a choice of three distances — 50km, 75km and 100km — across a mix of quiet lanes, bridleways and byways.
The event took place on Sunday, February 18.
He said: “It takes place on the road with some rough tracks as well. The 100km was hard, I know because I rode it myself and it ruined me.
“I had tried it the week earlier, to test, in very wet weather and I didn’t finish so I’m really pleased we had such beautiful weather on the day.
“It’s not a race against any person but a race against yourself and what you want to achieve.
“We had about 80 to 90 entries, which we were very happy with, although not everyone finished. We perhaps had a few more last year but there’s just so many cycle events around this year that it’s hard to get huge numbers.
“And it’s tough, really tough. The 100km event was over two laps — with the finish at the shop and cafe.
“Some people stopped after lap one, the lure of a seat and hot drink was too much.”
Despite the competition, Matt still believes they are on to a winner with the event.
He said: “The event definitely has interest and offers something different to a lot of the local events too — it’s endurance, so there’s a lot of mud involved at times.
“We think it can grow year on year, particularly with the growing interest in endurance events as a whole — this is a major challenge and people like to take things like this on.
“And those that had a go this year seem to have really enjoyed themselves, we’ve had some really positive feedback from people. The atmosphere was just great.”
Matt added that one of the event highlights this year was nine-year-old Sam Brook taking on the 50 km course with his father, a sight that charmed many of the spectators and competitors alike.
The cycle shop, based in the old Metcalfe Arms in Hawstead, is also planning to hold an end-of-summer event — also for the second time.
Matt said: “We called it Last of the Summer Road and it was quite successful.
“So we’re looking to hold another event to celebrate the end of the season and the start of the endurance season.”