Pre-empting the gravel bike boom in the UK, CX Sportive was started by the Cycle Events Organisation in 2011, as a new generation of CX bikes started to emerge that perfectly complimented their long history in both MTB and road riding, with the Wildwood CX being their first event.
The event is based in the village of Woodcote a few miles north of Reading, and features 80, 60 and 40km route choices on a mix of winter-rideable on and off road surfaces that switch regularly throughout the ride to keep things interesting. Routes are fully marked, and there are feed stations and full event support to round out your ride. The date change for 2017 puts the event clear of the Cyclocross race season, making it perfect encore event for racers looking for an outlet for their post season fitness. You don’t have to be a racer to take part though, the event is designed for anyone who wants some pacey, varied and exciting mixed surface winter riding. If you haven’t discovered the joy of CX (or ‘gravel’ or ‘adventure’ riding) yet, 2017 is the year the scene looks set get big. You don’t need a CX or gravel bike to take part (29ers and fast XC MTB’s are perfectly good for CX Sportive events), but we’re willing to bet that before the year is out, you’ll be thinking about getting one!
“When we launched the Wildwood six years ago, it was partly as an exciting alternative to cold slippery winter road riding and hub deep, claggy MTB, and partly in response to our own interest in CX bikes as go anywhere all-rounders; a trend that was just starting to starting to grow at the time”, explains event co-organiser, Martin Harrison. “The event was an immediate hit, and naturally enough, proved popular with cyclo-crossers who had just finished their race season, as well as with road riders and mountain bikers looking for something new. In that first year, the mix of bikes was as broad as it comes; from crossers to vintage MTBs and dirt-converted winter road rigs. just about everything you can think of was there! Since then, we’ve just seen the love for CX grow, with gravel bikes coming into the mix and riders from all backgrounds discovering the appeal of riding bikes that don’t place limits on them. The events still a draw a great mix of different bikes and riders, but fully two thirds of the field ride specific CX/gravel bikes now, as the appeal of those machines continues to grow. For us, CX & gravel has developed into a year round calendar of events and really become our new passion. We want to see it growing in all it’s forms; race, recreation, open hill and adventure.”
Find out more and sign up for events at www.cxsportive.com