While the cyclo-cross season is coming to its conclusion, that’s no reason to pack away your ‘cross bike. In fact thanks to the Kinesis UK Gravelcross Series you can keep riding on and off-road all year. This year’s season starts off with the Kinesis UK Wildwood CX sportive.
Based in the village of Woodcote, north of Reading, the Wildwood was the original CX Sportive. The first edition was held in 2010, before the words ‘gravel’ and ‘bike’ were joined together in the UK. That early adoption of ‘cross style bikes for exploring beyond the confines of the racecourse inspired the event. The 80km Chiltern Hills course is still something of a blue print for how to put together a great multi-surface ride.
The Wildwood course is consistently varied and entertaining, switching regularly between dirt and tarmac. It uses bridleways, farm roads, back lanes and singletrack, that have been carefully chosen for winter rideability. That way the conditions won’t blunt your pace. Coming at a time of year when road riding can be a dismal experience and half your MTB options are reduced to hub deep mud, it’s a fresh and exciting event. It’s almost about the most enjoyable way of getting in some good winter miles!
Backed by Kinesis UK in 2018, the event is also a showcase for their legendary Tripster range. Both the titanium Tripster ATR and the new exciting Tripster AT will be on display to get a close up look at. These are exactly the bikes that inspire this sort of riding, but the event is not limited to CX or gravel rigs; CX Sportive events are equally popular with MTBers on 29ers and fast XC MTBs. Whatever bike you ride is welcome – just make sure it’s capable of handling some dirt.
The Wildwood features a choice of 40, 60 and 80km route options. All courses are fully marked for easy navigation, with map and GPS back up available. Feed and support stations on route will keep you fuelled for the ride, and rider support is available to keep you on track too. RFID timing gives you on the line results, and there are gold, silver and bronze time band finishers medals to shoot for; if you want. Full catering back at the finish includes hot pasties and home-made chilli (I can confirm the chilli is excellent!), perfect to warm up and relax before you head for home.
Full details of the event and online sign up can be found at cxsportive.com.
You can see a course preview video here.