Croatia Velusso

Velusso x Quintessentially Foundation Charity Ride

This June we were tasked with managing the annual Quintessentially Foundation Charity Ride, taking 52 riders over 500km from Zagreb to Split in Croatia over four days. The ride, raising money for The Felix Project, changes each year as riders of all ages and experiences take to the road for the challenge.

Velusso played the key role of pulling the event route, logistics and staffing together, as well as managing the ride when out on the road with support vehicles, ride leaders and food and drinks stations along each day’s routes. With a team of eight we successfully delivered the event, with the 50-strong peloton Zagreb in the early hours of Thursday 27th June, arriving onto the promenade of Split seafront on the afternoon of 30th, a long and hot but hugely enjoyable and rewarding adventure.

Quintessentially Foundation Ride Day 1 – Zagreb – Plitvice 157km, 1675m elevation gain

With the heat wave taking a grip on Europe and temperatures predicted to be in the high 30s touching 40, day one saw the peloton roll out of the hotel at sunrise to beat the heat. A rolling route covering just shy of 160km was on the menu for the day, taking the group south to Plitvice. With a format for each day taking in a snack and hydration stop a quarter of the way through, a longer lunch stop to refuel at half way and a third pit stop after three-quarters of the day the riders were well looked after and hydrated on what turned out to be a testing first day.

Velusso Croatia

Despite the early start and the prospect of three more long days ahead, the groups rode a solid day in the saddle, rewarded with a quick dip in the river at the final stop of the day for most, before finishing in good time to celebrate over a well earned dinner together in the evening in Plitvice.

Velusso Croatia

Quintessentially Foundation Ride Day 2 – Plitvice – Petrčane 168km, 1700m

Starting with an early roll out to get ahead of the heat on another hot day ahead for the riders, day 2 saw the peloton head south once more with the coast beckoning at the end of the stage. The longest day in the saddle at 168km was made no easier by the soaring temperatures peaking around 40 degrees once again. Sun cream at the ready!

Some sore legs were heard creaking as the riders headed upwards straight from the hotel before cresting the first climb of the day to the sight of rolling hills and the beckoning sea in the far distance, with the morning route skirting the coast of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

At the briefing the night before, Event Manager Anton dropped in the temptingly positioned bungee jump off a stunning bridge at the final stop of the day, however on arrival there was no staff to be seen … maybe for the best given the kms still to be tackled.

Croatia Velusso

Another hard push saw the riders home and dry, able to test the Adriatic for the first, and by no means last, time this trip. Massage, dinner, debrief and bed ahead of more of the same tomorrow.

Quintessentially Foundation Ride Day 3 – Saturday, Petrčane – Sibenik 114km, 900m

A shorter stage of 114km meant a lie in for the riders – of sorts – and a hearty breakfast before rolling out for the penultimate stage to Sibenik. The tan lines from the past few days were evident for all to see (with some more evident, and apparently embarrassing, than others).

By now the groups had been well defined on the road, and the ‘fast’ group were forging ahead setting a brisk tempo in the goal of ‘having a beer at the hotel by midday’. Sorry guys, you missed out by less than 30 minutes today, but solid effort nonetheless.

Croatia Velusso

There were strong rides all across the groups on the road, notably from some of the riders relatively new to cycling but still pushing ahead and not being deterred by a few knocks on the way. Even those bringing up the rear managed to hold a smile for nearly the entirety of the day and were in high spirits on arrival at each and every feed stop of the day.

An early arrival meant there was even time for beers on the beach and a good night’s rest ahead of the final leg to come.

Croatia Velusso

Quintessentially Foundation Ride Day 4 – Sunday, Sibernik – Split 100km, 1250m

The final day was another shorter leg covering just over 100km down to the finish on the promenade in Split. With the prospect of champagne and celebrations on arrival everyone was eager to press on and get the day underway, skirting the coast for much of the ride.

Despite the shorter distance, the final stage had a few testing climbs to traverse en route, taking in gradients up to 20% at times. With all riders through the first of two stops of the day there was just one long climb to ascend before heading back down to the coast and the run in to the finish. The local residents however had something to say about progress, closing the road between the front group and the main pack for a local car rally up the switchbacks of the day’s climbs.

With pizza planned for the riders atop the climb, panic started to set in with some worrying about the prospect of not getting the final feast before Split, but some quick planning on the road by the Velusso team saw a secondary route devised around the mountain to not only avoid the steepest slopes for some who were happy to detour, but pizza was still hot on arrival for all to enjoy.

From here on in it was a fairly flat run to the finish and a final push to the coast to welcoming cheers and congratulations, as well as a running jump straight into the sea for most to cap off a brilliant journey over the four days.

The camaraderie built on the road on such as event is plain for all to see and carries all riders, from the fastest to the most novice. All riders did themselves proud, even those unable to finish the entire route due to injury, staying to support and motivate the others whom for most they did not know from Adam four days prior. Friendships were made, bonds were built, and a love for cycling was found on the roads of Croatia this June. We look forward to sharing this experience once again in 2020, and helping many other organisations do much of the same in the coming months and years.

A final note to say a massive congratulations to the riders not just for their efforts on the bike, but for the fundraising off it too. The target of £400,000 was smashed this year, raising vital funds for The Felix Project to allow it to keep doing the great things it does for those going hungry on the streets of London.

For more information on the kind of corporate tours we create and develop for clients, check out our Corporate page.