There is a big tradition of sportive cyclo cross rides in Holland and Belgium during the 'winter' off season. Usually these rides are pretty local attracting about 400-500 riders every Sunday.
At the beginning of the season there is the big 'ATB Classic' Scherpenheuvel - Hapert this is both the longest and most epic of all of them. At 90km this is more than double the distance of the standard off road sportives.
The start is traditionally in Scherpenheuvel (Sharp hill), the biggest Catholic Maria pilgrimage in Belgium. This town in the heart of Flemish Brabant yearly attracts more than 1 million pilgrims, many coming to get their bike blessed by the local bishop for prosperity for the coming racing season.
From the cobbled square the 1500 riders start, after being blessed by the Bishop, for the 90km north on their way to the finish in Holland at Cafe 't huuske' in Hapert.
First time we rode this one was in 2002 and we've been waiting to get back and do it again ever since. Located one week before Rollapaluza's Muddy Hell, this should be a perfect preparation. Even though it's not a 'race' a lot of the local amateurs and other fanatics are keen to finish first in the cafe and take the honour of receiving the first medal. Among these guys is always former world cyclo cross champion Henk Baars, still going strong.
Being held on the 25th of this month it should be a great ride so keep posted for more updates.