You may have read some of our coverage of the Wiggle CX Sportive series previously. If not and you’re wondering what a CX Sportive is, well it’s quite simple. Take a cyclo-cross bike – you are welcome to use pretty much any bike, but the events are called CX Sportive – find some wiggly, off the beaten path routes that are mostly rideable and combine as many different types of terrain, gradient and surface as you can. Add in all the usual elements of a normal sportive; feed stops, GPS routes, maps, mechanical support, etc. And there you have it, a CX Sportive!
The Wiggle CX Sportive series was a seven event series, but it is now officially eight events long. The new addition is called, cue drumroll, The Badlands. Based in that disreputable cesspit that is Henly-onThames, the Badlands takes it’s name from the fact that back in the good old days, this was Bandit country!
Henly-on-Thames was the last stop on the Thames for boats coming up-river and highwaymen and robbers would lurk in the hills, waiting to swoop down and relieve the merchants of their wares. The hills north of the town became known as the Badlands and travellers and traders were justifiably nervous when passing through. Very different nowadays of course, with very few sightings of highwaymen.
Much of the course is tarmac, although the majority of that is back lanes of questionable quality, definitely not one for your best bike or wheels. The organisers say that 60% is road, with the rest of the route a combination of farm tracks, bridle paths and single track. Sounds like this one will suit the ‘cross bike rather than the 29ers, but it’s your choice as to what bike you take; probably best to leave your mum’s shopper at home though…
If you’ve not ridden a CX Sportive before, then take a look at one of my previous reports, perhaps the Gold Rush? This takes place around the Salisbury area and includes the cobbled climb of Gold Hill – you know, the one from that Hovis add from back in the 80s? – this is the next event in the series and takes place on the 16th October for 2016. Still time to get your entry in.
It may sound simple, but the constant swapping between road and off-road, keeps you focused and looking for the best path, rather than just hammering out the fastest time you can. You find yourself coming across some beautiful parts of the countryside that you probably wouldn’t reach on a normal road bike, while being able to keep a fast enough pace on the road sections to give yourself a good workout. Also if the weather is bad, then you know you are going to get some respite from the mud, rather than just constantly slogging through it. Head over to the Wiggle CX Sportive series website and take a look, your ‘cross bike will love you for it!
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