Wiggle Magnificat, Black Route. Fabulous ride in gorgeous countryside, but oh, THAT wind from the south was hard work!

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Today was the Wiggle Magnificat Sportive, starting from the Newbury Showground in West Berkshire. I’d booked on the longest route as normal, this time it was the Black Route at about 127 miles and over 8000ft of climbing. It’s down as a 10/10 for difficulty but I’m totally up for the challenge!

I’d arrived in the area the day before, so drove over to event HQ early this morning. Parking was easy and I rode the short distance over the grass to Registration.

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Once registered, I fancied a quick coffee before I started my ride so stopped by my friends at the BoMo Expresso Bar for a flat white. Suitably fortified with caffeine, I headed over to the start line.

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The first part of the route took us to the east, in the direction of Reading, before looping round to the north and over the A34 at East Ilsley. I’d done the reverse of this road on the Brewin Dolphin Ridgeway Rouleur a month or two ago, so it was familiar.

The first feed stop 17 miles into the ride at West Ilsley soon followed and I stopped to top up with water as it was a warm day and some 35 or so miles to the next feed stop.

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After Farnborough, there was a lovely long sweeping descent off the Ridgeway and into Wantage and I spotted 3 different SportivePhoto.com photographers along this beautiful section of road.

The route then headed south and the Epic and Black routes soon split off. The next feed stop at Great Bedwyn soon followed and was a short diversion off the route.

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Not long afterwards I got to the part where the Black route split off on it’s own but there were no signs saying so. I must have just missed the cut-off time as there is a nasty wind from the south which has really been slowing me down for a while now!

What the heck, I have the route on my GPS so rode the Black Route anyway and made a mental note to pick the pace up a bit, especially when the wind finally got behind me.

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When I got to the village of Appleshaw I was expecting to see the third feed stop at the Village Hall, but it was nowhere to be seen (they had taken down all the route signs from the last course split as I was riding unsupported on this section of the route). I asked a passing pedestrian and he told me, “top of the hill, on the right, you can’t miss it”. Well, I followed the instructions and totally missed it. I’ve no idea where it was!

About half a mile later on I did find a village hall and asked a lady outside it if this was it. It was not, it was the next village’s village hall. Doh! She kindly offered to fill my water bottles up for me at her house over the road and I┬áhad enough food for the rest of the ride anyway, so was sorted. Phew!

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The wind was behind me by now and my pace picked up quite a bit. I was soon re-joining the Epic route and coasting into the final 4th feed stop at Kintbury. I didn’t stop long here as I was conscious I needed to make up time to get back to event HQ.

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It was then a pretty easy ride back to the finish line, with only a couple of nasty climbs to test my tiring legs. I arrived back just before 6pm and collected my medal and goodies and got a lovely brie and chutney baguette off the New Forest Steak Co people, who were just packing up their van at the end of the day.

A fabulous route in a gorgeous area that was all new to me, apart from the familiar bit around the first feed stop.

Route: click here