Today it’s the Wiggle Ups and Downs Sportive, starting from Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, where they film Top Gear.
The route takes us into the Surrey Hills around Godalming, before heading to flatter areas in West Sussex and then returning to the Surrey Hills for more climbing. It’s not called Ups and Downs for nothing!
I arrived a bit later than planned and went to register. I’m riding solo today as my usual southern sportive riding pal, Andy, was working so could not make it.
By the time I had registered, the queue to start was pretty lengthy, but thankfully it soon moved and I was lining up to start. Nice to get another shout out during the safety briefing. Won’t ever tire of that ;).
It’s a bit of a varied day with the weather and I could not decide whether to bring summer or winter kit. In the end, I brought both and ended up pretty much in winter kit. This proved to be a good call as I was not cold at all during the ride, but anything less than my winter jacket and I would have been.
The route headed out of the south entrance of the airfield and to the west towards the hills around Godalming. Quite a few of the roads looked familiar, especially from the Box Hill Original sportive last year, but I’ve not checked yet to make absolutely sure.
After Godalming, the elevation settled down nicely as we headed south towards West Sussex. I soon reached the first feed stop at Plaistow and got talking to a cyclist from Muxton, near home, who was in the area visiting his son and getting a sneaky sportive in at the same time. Small world!
The route then meandered it’s way back northwards towards the Surrey Hills before stopping for the second feed stop at Walliswood, just before the hills started again.
In Ewhurst, the Epic route loop started right by the cricket club, which is a feed stop on the London Revolution and is somewhere I’ll be stopping at in 2 weeks time when on the London Revolution Ultra one-day event.
The hills then kicked up almost immediately. My legs were a bit fatigued by now, especially after my 110 mile midweek ride so I took the climbs very steadily, which worked a treat.
In Farley Heath, towards the top of the Epic loop, I stopped at the third and final feed stop which was in a car park in some woods. It was a cut down feed stop with just water and gels, so I topped up with water for the last 20 miles and headed off.
The big climb of the day came at 65 miles into the ride and what a climb it was! Surrey Hills at their best (worst?) as it was steep and went on for ages. Just when you thought you were at the top, you went round a corner to see more tarmac to climb.
I eventually topped it off and enjoyed a ride through the wooded area on the top of the hill before descending into Ewhurst down Pitch Hill (this was on the London Revolution the reverse way round last year and everyone was calling it Bitch Hill as it’s very steep in places!).
After that, it was an easy ride on flattish roads back to the event HQ at Dunsfold.
Post ride, I had a lovely flat white from my friends at BoMo Expresso Bar and a halloumi and roasted pepper burger (I’m a veggie) from the New Forest Steak and Burger people. Yum!
A fab sportive with perfect organisation and a great route. Good to get some decent climbing into my legs too.
Route: click here