Joe Saumarez Smith has been cycling since 1978 but first rode a sportive at the age of 39 after his wife decided to enter him in the 2011 Etape du Tour from Modane to Alpe d'Huez, via the Col du Galibier. Joe is a well known journalist and has worked for a wide range of national newspapers and magazines.
He mainly works in the online gambling industry and rides and writes about cycling in the small amount of time he has between his work and family life. He rides a Condor Baracchi RL in the summer, a Condor Fratello in the winter and an ancient Kona Lava Dome when the weather in London gets so bad he is scared to be on a road bike.
Dan McCausland is an overweight occasional gambler who returned to road biking in middle age after a gap of 20-odd years. The Etape du Dales 2014 was his first proper sportive. It was part of his preparation for the Marmotte - he blames his entry on drink.
Richard Hutchinson has been riding road bikes since the age of 15 but had a break from riding for nearly a decade from the age of 22, during which he drank and ate too much while working in London.
Now based in North Yorkshire as a freelance writer, Richard regularly rides sportives and goes on training rides two or three times a week, weather permitting (he's not very good with wind and rain). He rides a Bianchi Nirone 7 and a Lemond Chambery.
James got into road cycling far too late to be any good, so focuses instead on getting to the end of major events before the cut-off times and trying to buy enough gear to be better than at least one of the friends he rides with.
Forced to take things far more seriously after getting drunk one night and signing up to the 2013 Etape, James is now constantly looking for the next big challenge to motivate him. The idea of a Haute Route (Dolomites), a Belgian Classic or at very least the Tour of Wessex are being toyed with for 2015. James rides a Charge Plug to work and a Felt F4 at the weekends.
He blogs about his event 'training' and big rides here: http://how-im-doing-the-etape-du-tour.blogspot.co.uk.
Ben has been playing out on bikes since 1977. This self styled 'baroudeur' enthuses in all things cycling, coffeehouse culture and lives by the fundamental rule of 'N + 1'.
Having ditched a healthy career as a triathlete due to sore knees, lack of training time and ultimately a downward spiral in form he took up cycling more seriously. Specialising in very very flat courses with a decent tailwind, he loves the idea of hills but the feeling is unfortunately not reciprocated.
Ben is currently cultivating an outrageous handlebar moustache and riding a Basso Astra, but dreams of one day owning a Colnago C60 and a decent pair of legs.
Nick is the Founder of Vulpine cycling apparel and the Vulpine Cycling Fete. He runs the company and designs the clothes, in between moaning about his back and playing with his dog Lily and wife Emmalou. Vulpine use performance materials to create a stylish wardrobe influenced by British tailoring, that you can wear on and off the bike. Nick is passionate about all cycling, from racing to picnic dawdling. He started out racing as a kid, did Sports Physiology at uni and particularly loves film and photography. And shiny things.
Oisin Sands is the editor of Sportive.com, and after an unpromising start (his first sportive featured hallucinations of riding a tandem) he has now at least mastered the art of attaching numbers to his bike with zip ties. 2014’s schedule includes the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Dragon Gran Fondo and One Day Coast to Coast but his long-term ambition is to climb every mountain. In between sportives, Oisin is busy trying to work out the fastest colour of bar tape.
Alex Voake is a Welsh geologist living and working in Norway. Alex started cycling two years ago to avoid the Tube in London and has never looked back. He rides a Look 566 and a Specialized S-Works Tricross for when the snow arrives.