Posted Tuesday 14th August 2012 –
The Woodcote Sportive returns this Sunday August 19th taking riders along the Thames Valley, through the goring Gap and up into the south Chilterns. The route takes you from intricate lanes and steep, wooded Thames-side climbs, to the broad, open sweeps below the Oxfordshire Ridgeway. The organisers are promising a rewarding course that variously fast and flowing with some calf burning climbs, but always inspiringly scenic.
The route choices come in three flavours, short and mid total 86 and 103km respectively, with the full course weighing in at 136km with 1,827m of height gain. It’s a spectacular day out on the bike! And as ever, the ride will feature full and comprehensive route marking, feed and support stations and electronic rider timing, and there will be hot and cold food, drinks and snacks, plus free Torq energy drink, and rider photos after the event, available to download for just a £1 donation to charity.
The course rolls out easily for the first few miles from the event start, through wooded lanes that take you down almost to the river at Whitchurch, where a sharp right delivers you onto your first trip into the red zone for the day, straight up the formidable Whitchurch Hill. From here it’s west, crossing the Thames at picturesque Goring and turning south at Streatley. For the next 30 or so miles, you’ll be exploring West Berkshire’s rolling ‘Quiet Lane’ network, roads designated as such for their beauty and tranquility. Then there’s a hike back up to the ridge and a wake up call in the form of the searing descent of Streatley hill.
The route turns north from here, crossing back across the Thames below Wallingford and pointing towards the choppier terrain of the south Chilterns, more familiar to Woodcote veterans. A stiff climb of Garsons Hill false summits before the last drag to the courses high point at Cookley Green, before a drop into the Oxfordshire plain gives you a chance for a breather. What goes down though, must come back up, and Britwell Hill is a test equal to Whitchurch; higher, and at the sharp end of the course too!
This brings you to the final act. Enjoy the excellent descent from Stonor, but remember that this course started high. The final miles are stubborn, kicking you up sharply twice and undulating constantly to stretch you all the way to the finish.