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Spring Challenge places still open

Waiting for the off at Highclere Castle

Refreshments are vital on a long ride

There are a few places left for the Epic Cycles Spring Challenge on 15 April. This is a new event for 2007 and comes from the organisers of the popular Autumn Epic cyclosportive – the idea is that this smaller ride provides ideal preparation for the bigger challenges to come as the season gets properly under way. Over in Italy there a quite a few lower key events that run in the Spring and which act as true early season challenges in their own right, while not being the massive undertakings that most Gran Fondos are.

The Epic Cycles Spring Challenge is intended to be just like these mini (or Corto) Fondos. It won’t be a fully supported event like the Autumn Epic – more of a halfway house between a cyclosportive and a reliability ride. It costs just £10 to enter, with all proceeds going to the West Midlands Air Ambulance, and will include:

  • A picturesque 50-mile route – way-marked, with routecard as backup
  • Free 750ml drinks bottle (bidon) of Agisko natural sports drink and an Agisko gel at the start.
  • Food at the end (tea/coffee, cake, soup and roll).
  • Hand-timed (i.e. not transponder) finishing times, published in alphabetical order, as it is not a race
  • Spot prizes donated by Epic Cycles and their suppliers (but nothing for being back first!)
  • Optional T-shirt available for £5 in advance, with £2 donated to charity for each one sold
  • Car parking in the grounds of Kyre Park gardens (worth a visit in their own right)
  • Registration, toilets and changing in Epic Cycles bike shop, which will be open for the day.

    The Spring Challenge won’t have some of the things that you might expect in a full distance cyclosportive or century ride, like mobile mechanics (all riders will be issued with an contact number for use in an emergency only) and food stops out on the course (although you will pass through the small town of Cleobury Mortimer which has a number of shops) etc. We have kept all costs to a minmum in order to maximise the money raised for charity, while holding the entry fee down to £10.

    Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is an easy ride though – this lovely countryside route is hilly throughout, and takes in the highest hill range in Shropshire (the Clees), with one climb that averages 13% for a mile! The route is mainly on B-roads and quieter A-roads, with a few decent unclassified country lanes thrown in for good measure – we’d love to use roads similar to the traffic free moorland lanes of the Autumn Epic, but many of them are virtually un-rideable in April after a winter of muck and flints has washed onto them.

    Entries are available at www.epic-cycles.co.uk

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