With the weatherman promising a sunny and warm weekend, what better time to take the ‘cross bike out? The South Downs Gravelcross is a new event in the CX Sportive calendar that will take you around the chalk hills of the South Downs.
If you have a cyclo-cross bike and you’ve not ridden a ‘cross sportive before, then why not? With routes that mix road and off-road you’ll be not be bored! CX Sportives events will have you riding on every kind of surface, in all conditions. Your handling will be tested, although the trails are never too extreme. So, off with those road tyres and on with the knobblies! Free your ‘cross bike from commuter duties and let it loose on the Downs!
The South Downs Gravelcross starts and finishes at the foot of Butser Hill, just outside the Queen Elizabeth Country Park. With the descent of Butser Hill to look forward to you can enjoy 72, 56, or 42 kilometres of excellent riding. Part of the route will take you along the South Downs Way, giving you a taste of the gravel classic that is the CX Century.
You can expect the usual friendly and efficient service from the CX Sportive guys. There’s full course marking, a detailed route map and a support vehicle/mechanical assistance on the course; just in case. There are feed stations on route, with hot and cold food at the finish. Rider times are displayed immediately at the finish and you can try for bronze, silver or gold times.
Living further east along the South Downs Way I can report that the Downs are dry and have been rain free for a week. No mud means it’s time to break out those fat tyres, you should be able to post some fast times. So get out there and ride what should be a great event in a fantastic part of the country. I’ll be missing this round in the series, thanks to a broken collar bone, so hope you all enjoy the ride.
If you enjoy the South Downs Gravelcross, but fancy something a little more competitive, then why not try the Battle in the Bowl? This is a two hour gravel race for ‘cross and gravel bikes and will really challenge you. I rode it last year and am looking forward to doing it again.
If racing’s not your thing and fancy something a little more epic, then why not try the CX Century? As far as I’m concerned this is the Blue Riband ‘cross/gravel event for the UK. A hundred miles along the South Downs Way in a day. While not technical, it is gruelling, with most of the day’s climbing packed into the final thirty miles. This is one to tell the grandkids about! Check out the website and get training. You can read about one of my previous attempts here.
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