Today was the Brewin Dolphin Ridgeway Rouleur Sportive which starts in a lovely rural country estate near Stokenchurch in Buckinghamshire and heads out to the south of Oxford, towards Swindon and back.
I had complimentary Velo Club entry to the cancelled Brewin Dolphin Wye Tour a few weeks ago and UK Cycling Events kindly offered to move this over to today’s sportive. This means I get entry to the Velo Club marquee, free breakfast, food after the ride and a whole host of other goodies. Fab!
As I arrived there was a queue of cars out of the estate onto the road, as the event has had to be moved at the last minute within the estate due to waterlogged ground! Not a problem though and I was soon parking up in the designated Velo Club parking area.
I went to register and had a nice surprise as I bumped into a friend from near home, Paul Evans, who was volunteering to help out at the event for the day. We had a quick catch up before I met up with my southern sportive riding pal Andy. We went over to the Velo Club for some very welcome breakfast before the ride.
The pro-lead Velo Club riders headed out at 8:15 but we were still finishing our breakfast and wanted to make our own way around the route, so just joined the normal starting line when we were ready. The pro-lead ride just means you ride to a Gold time, but means less time for socialising at feed stops etc etc.
The first few miles of the ride were through the private estate, on estate roads, before joining normal roads in the Chilterns. A pretty tough early climb soon followed, which was harder than it needed to be as my legs had not yet warmed up!
We then dropped down onto the Oxfordshire plain and onwards to the first feed station, after just 15 miles. We did not really need to stop here, but sportives are a social thing so stop we did and I ended up having a good natter with a few other cyclists.
The route then meandered past Didcot and towards the very far end of the Epic Course near the White Horse at Uffington. I was convinced these white horses carved into the side of hills are all in Wiltshire, but the sign nearby told me we were still in Oxfordshire. You learn something new every day!
The route then started to get much more undulating and there was a bit of a nasty southerly wind, so we were really glad when the route started heading back northwards again! Beautiful countryside though and with BIG views all around.
About 4 miles from the finish, we had to climb back up into the Chilterns from the Oxfordshire plain, which was not too steep but went on for ages and was not that welcome with about 90 miles already in the legs. I’d already had my friend, Tracy, who had ridden the Standard route and had already finished, text me to say how un-welcome the final hill was!
It was then a nice cruise along the top of the ride and back into the estate to the finishing line.
We met up with my friend Paul again at the finishing line to pose for pictures. Then we retired to the Velo Club for some very welcome mushroom pasta and a bottle of beer.
A really good day out on the bike and my first sportive of the year in summer kit and glorious sunshine. I even managed a bit of a tan!
Route: click here