Posted Friday 31st October 2014 –
The CX Sportive season begins this month, with the fourth outing of the Salisbury Saxon CX on November 9th. CX Sportives mix different surfaces throughout their course to create a varied, well paced and rideable experience that is a refreshing autumn/winter alternative to straight road or MTB riding.
CX sportives are all about pace and variety, and the Salisbury course is great for that. It has some real physical challenges – there are some big, big climbs – but there are back lanes and drove roads to really get your legs turning over too. CX Sportive courses are designed to work well for any fast, capable all round bike: CX, hardtail MTB, lightweight full-susser, 29er, hybrid, whatever! The course has something for everyone!
When people think Salisbury, they usually think of the Plain, but there’s so much more to the area than that. The Saxon course is set in the Chalke Valley, which runs west from Salisbury to Shaftesbury, and and it’s a hidden gem. The steep sided valley is flanked on both sides by high ridges with drove roads on each and a network of tracks and lanes connecting them to the valley road below. It creates an outstandingly good place to ride!
The Saxon CX course traditionally throws the toughest terrain at riders in it’s first third, presenting a faster finishing section at the end of the day, but includes a good balance of climbs and descents throughout the 80km ride, while the profiles for the shorter 60 and 40km options are a little less severe. There’s a broad mix of terrains too, including some mud and standing water, but it’s mostly good and rideble year round. The drove roads that form the twin backbones of the course, particularly the northern drove on the return, stand up well in all weathers.
The course area itself is quite stunning, and a treat to ride on autumn day. The crystal clear river Ebble runs trough a series of lost-in-time thatch topped villages along the peaceful valley road, while the strenuous climbs to the top of the droves reveal extensive views of the wide open surrounding countryside.
The event starts and finishes at Salisbury Race Course, and you get full route marking, GPS files, electronic timing, feed station support and free CNP energy mix for your ticket price, plus full catering and a warm cafeteria at the start and finish.
For full details and entry, visit cxsportive.com.