Today was the Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive, starting at the lovely Somerly House Estate, near Ringwood in Hampshire.
This was the first sportive I ever took park in so far away from home this time last year and it’s a lovely route, so I was totally looking forward to my day.
I arrived in plenty of time and with a weather forecast that suggested I might finally be able to dig my summer kit out. I opted for arm and leg warmers too as it was not that warm to start off. It was also forecast rain later so my Raiders gilet was essential.
I parked up and walked up the hill to the event village and registration. As it’s the New Forest, we also have to wear big rider numbers on our backs and were treated to an extended safety briefing, including all about the wild animals we might encounter on the route and giving them priority. Not a problem.
There was quite a queue to start when I was ready but the Epic riders were being ushered to the front as they had to get off before 9:30am. That’s me, so all too soon I was on my way and getting into the ride.
The route was the same as last year, with one small diversion for a closed road just before the first feed stop at Boldre. I enjoyed the ride southwards from the start, past Bournemouth Airport before turning eastwards to enter the New Forest itself.
At the feed stop, I stocked up with water and had some welcome food as I was getting a little hungry by now. Then it was back on the road and I was soon at Beaulieu and the bit where the Epic Course heads for the coast overlooking the Isle Of Wight (one of my highlights of this lovely route).
After re-joining the Standard route it was up into Lyndhurst. and then onwards to the second and final feed stop at Copythorne. I did not hang around too much here as it had started to rain lightly and I was getting cold not riding my bike.
The final section of the ride contained the most elevation and we were soon heading up onto higher ground, including the main climb of the ride. I remember this being tough last year but did not think it was too bad today, indicating my fitness has improved a lot over the last year.
It was then an easy ride over the top of the Downs, through Fordingbridge and back to the event HQ. Where I collected my medals and goodies. I laughed as these contained a Wilkinson Sword razor – what would a ‘bearded bloke’ want with one of those ;).
I was delighted later on to see I’d earnt a Silver certificate as I normally spend way too long socialising at the feed stops (isn’t this what sportives are about after all?) and get a Bronze.
An amazing day out on my bike in one of my favourite areas to cycle. Loved it!
Route: click here