Posted Monday 4th March 2013 –
The beauty of sportives is their variety and accessibility to so many riders. But as the sportive scene and it’s adherents mature, more and more are looking to cross that magic century barrier, and complete a 100 mile sportive. If you want to take on the big one with the benefit of experience behind you, Southern Sportive have three opportunities to hit the hundred this season, and they have been outlining your options.
The Wight Riviera Sportive – 19th May, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight
Longest distance: 163km (101 miles), other options: 121km (75 miles), 62km (39 miles), 15km (16 miles; fully closed road)
Tweaked for this year to bring it up to the magic 100, the Wight Riviera Sportive also boasts the unique feature of a mass start onto a 25km closed road circuit, which brings you right back under the start arch before you ride back out onto the wider course. The whole circuit is characterised by the many hills and downs that form the backbone of this startlingly pretty island, and of course by the succession of wonderful sea views that seem to accost you from every angle. Lonely Planet once named the Isle of Wight amongst the worlds ten best cycling destinations, and there is no better ride than the Wight Riviera Sportive to demonstrate why.
The Great Western Sportive – 16th June, Swindon, Wiltshire
Longest distance: 163km (101 miles), other options: 117km (73 miles), 81km (50 miles)
Swindon might not sound like the most glamorous destination for a sportive, but the Wiltshire and Marlborough downs that lie to it south are a genuine cycling treat. And the Great Western Sportive wastes no time in delivering you their heart from it’s base at the Nationwide Building Society HQ on the edge of town. This is one of England’s most ancient landscapes, as you are quickly reminded when you roll past the mighty circles of standing stones in the village of Avebury. Downland geography is typified by steep faces, rolling gently away on their far side, and the Great Western course takes clever advantage of this. It feels like every big climb is rewarded with miles of long, languorous descending, by bubbling streamed and through picture postcard villages, and all on surprisingly quiet and well maintained roads. 100 miles of magnificent summer riding.
The Southern Sportive – 8th September, Petersfield, Hampshire
Longest distance: 192km (120 miles), other options: 155km (96 miles), 112km (70 miles), 71km (44 miles)
In the short history of the UK cyclosportive, the Southern Sportive is one of the very few to feel like it has a heritage. The original South Downs sportive, and one of the first in the south of England; and also possibly the first to offer multiple distances and Gold, Silver Bronze time targets, the Southern Sportive has had a significant influence on the UK sportive scene. It’s course has been widely praised for it’s beauty and good balance of challenge and ride-ability too. In fact the 155km (96 mile) route is still considered the core, classic distance for this event, but two years ago a new option, The Gauntlet, was added as an über-sportive for riders wanting to push their limits that bit further. And The Gauntlet doesn’t just nudge you up that 100 mile mark; it takes you to another level at a whopping 192km – or 120 miles! If you’re looking for a target for your season, you need look no further; just pick up the Gauntlet.
Full details of all the events can be found in our 2013 sportive calendar listings.