Great times at our latest sportive - the Cycling Weekly Surrey Hills Cyclone

Thanks to everybody who made Sunday’s Cycling Weekly sportive such a success. The Surrey Cyclone was a sell-out, and a perfect day’s riding in the early spring sunshine.

With some 1,300 riders split into 86, 60 and 28-mile groups, it was a busy day in the Surrey lanes, particularly on the climbs, of which there were certainly quite a few. If you didn’t like riding uphill, Sunday wasn’t really for you.

I opted for the standard mid-distance ride, which didn’t appear to have a single section of level tarmac. With almost 5,000 feet of climbing, I seemed to be switching chainrings every few minutes, but with such varied terrain it certainly wasn’t a boring route.

Highlights included Ranmore Common, Barhatch Lane, Leith Hill, and last but by no means least, the fearsome slopes of White Down.

Box Hill, less than 10 miles away may be the most famous climb in the South-East, but White Down is a much more serious test. I certainly needed my 25 sprocket and if I’d had a 28, then that would have been a better option. It really is that steep and with the summit just five kilometres from the finish, it was the spot where all three groups merged for the run-in to the finish.

Places are already filling up for the next round, the Dartmoor Demon on May 3, starting from Exeter Racecourse. More details at bookmyride.co.uk.

Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly