A little under a fortnight remains until the Southern Sportive, an event held each year since 2006, and the first of its kind to be staged on the South Downs.
The event will be staged on Sunday September 9 by the organisers who gave it their name, Southern Sportive, partners with RoadCyclingUK.
Four routes are offered, from the 71km Short Route to the 192km Wilier Gauntlet, variously taking in scenery from Goodwood to the Meon Valley.
The classic Southern Sportive loop, a challenging 155km course, will return again, this time for the seventh year.
Riders will start from Churchers Cottage, leaving the main courtyard and heading out into the South Downs for three challenging climbs of the northern escarpment of the South Downs on a journey east.
Coming back, the riders will head south over the Downs ridge, taking in big climbs over Goodwood and Old Winchester Hill before the finish. Some 2,500 metres of climbing are involved in total, justifying the Classic tag afforded the route.
The remaining three routes are variations of this Classic course.
At 192km, the Wilier Gauntlet is one of the nation’s toughest sportives, offering a 37km extension to the Classic route and an additional 500 metres of climbing. The route heads north through the Meon Valley, before the climb onto the Winchester Downs and a return leg over the ‘knuckles of the Gauntlet’ – sharp climbs and drops encountered in rapid succession.
The Mid Route offers a shorter day in the saddle than the Classic or the Gauntlet. Its 112km parcours is described by the organisers as “a magnificent middleweight ride”, containing the climbs and views of the two longer routes.
For riders perhaps new to the sport and seeking an easier day still, the 71km Short Route takes in the eastern half of the full route.
All of the usual offerings from a large scale sportive are included: route marking, feed stations, and instant timing among them. A free t-shirt with Southern Sportive’s Britannic design will be handed to each rider. Entrants can download photos of the event for a £1, with proceeds going to charity.
Entry costs £27 for the Wilier Gauntlet, £26 for the Classic, £25 for the Mid Route, and £24 for the Short Route.