Today was the Sigma Sports Wiltshire Wildcat Sportive, an 81 mile pretty hilly route starting and ending at Salisbury Racecourse.
I know the area from the Wiggle Bournemouth Sportive last year, which used some of the same lanes and was a tough one for me. Admittedly I was doing it on only 4 hours sleep, which is not recommended!
Andy and I had time for breakfast at the hotel before setting off for the event on the other side of Salisbury. When the 100 mile routes come in later in the season, this will be a luxury that will fall by the wayside though as it’s always an early start and I bring my own porridge for before the ride.
Arriving at the venue, we parked up and walked down to register with our bikes and helmets. I think we had missed the initial wave of riders as registration was really quick and we were soon lining up to start the ride. Bonus!
On the way, I had a chat with various event staff who are getting very familiar with me by now from all of their events I’ve been to!
The first part of the route took us westwards towards Shaftesbury with the knowledge that the biggest hill of the ride was at about 15 miles in. As we got closer I remembered it from the Bournemouth Sportive and went for bottom gear and span my way to the top. Some fab views all around were my very welcome reward.
Not long after was the split for the Epic route and then soon afterwards the first feed station. Here we got chatting to quite a few riders and enjoyed the very welcome tea and coffee facilities. Always a bonus on a sportive, even in the summer when it’s hot. Caffeine-fuelled cycling, what’s not to like ;-).
The terrain then settled down for a while and we were zooming around some lovely country lanes to the east of Shaftesbury, before hitting the next big climb at around 40 miles.
This turned out to be not too bad and we were soon back on flatter roads and heading towards the second feed station at Witchampton. We spent way too long chatting here, but part of the fun of sportives is the social aspect, so it’s absolutely not a problem.
Not long afterwards we joined the short route and were heading towards feed station number 3. A marshall at a crossroads told us it’s only ‘a mile away’. He must have been very optimistic or having a laugh with us as it turned out to be about 5 miles further on!
At the final feed stop we were joined by the other riders we kept bumping into throughout the day and had more chat. Love the social aspects of a sportive like this!
One of them was kneeled down on the floor looking like he was praying. I’m not sure if he was praying this was the end of the ride or that the final 13 miles would be flat, but neither was true!
From there it was an easyish run into the finishing line at Salisbury Racecourse, with a longish climb about half way and then the final climb up to the racecourse.
At the finishing line, we got our very nice custom medals and goodie packs, which were very much appreciated. We then went off to the BoMo Coffee Bar for some well-deserved caffeine.
A fabulous day out and it feels so good to be back into sportives again after the winter break. I’d almost forgotten how much I enjoy the challenges they present and the fun social aspect of it all. Bring on the rest of the season now!
Route: click here