Today was the Wiggle Sussex Gran Fondo Sportive, starting at Fontwell Racecourse, near Chichester in West Sussex. I’ve had this one booked along with the MTB sportive from the same venue the day after for a while now.
This is one of the few UK Cycling Events Sportives with a Black Route, which is longer and hillier than their normal ‘ top of the range’ Epic route. As my goal is to do the longest route on every sportive I enter, naturally, I was booked on the Black route!
I arrived in the area the day before and was up bright and early for the 10-minute drive to the venue as with the extra mileage today, I was anxious to get started as soon as I could. On arrival, I met up with my southern sportive riding mate Andy and we had a quick coffee from my friends at the BoMo Expresso Bar before setting off on the ride.
The route initially took us up past Goodwood Racecourse, which I recognised from last year’s South Downs 100 sportive, where we’d come the other way down the road past the racecourse.
The route then meandered northwards before our first feed stop at Rogate. Here I filled up with water as it was going down fast today with beautiful blue skies and the sun.
At Buriton, the Epic and Black routes split off from the Standard and we entered the lovely Meon Valley, which I have fond memories of from the Mega Meon sportive last year. Absolutely loved that ride, in fact, it’s one of my stand-out rides from last year’s sportives!
The second feed stop was at Alresford and a slight diversion off the route to get to. Only just up the road though and not a problem. Suitably refreshed, we set off for the next section, where, a few miles later, the Black route split off from the Epic.
The Black section was deceptive as it’s an additional 20 miles or so, but meandered all over the place and was all ups and downs so added quite a bit to the elevation total. A beautiful section of countryside and an absolute pleasure to cycle through. The third feed stop was along this section at Meonstoke.
Eventually, we re-joined the Epic route and started heading back int he direction of the event HQ. Not long afterwards we popped into the fourth and final feed stop at Forestside for a top up with water as by this time it was the hottest point of the afternoon.
From here it was a flattish 20 miles or so to the finishing line, with just the one main climb back up to Goodwood Racecourse to contend with. Andy was in unchartered territory now as we were past his longest ride distance, but he kept up a very respectable pace and was obviously enjoying the ride every bit as much as I was!
Back at event HQ, we were met at the finishing line by Donna, Andy’s wife. We received our medals and goodies and all headed off back to the hotel in Chichester for a soak of legs in a hot bath, followed by some pizza and beers, before an early night in readiness for tomorrow’s MTB sportive.
A fabulous day out on the bike again and as perfect a sportive as I’ve ever done. Absolutely loved it!
Route: click here
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