No gloves, no overshoes; spring is here at long last. What a difference a week can make.

Sunday’s temperature was up 15 degrees on the previous weekend, and the lanes were packed with riders enjoying the pleasant sunshine.

It’s looking good for our Surrey Hills Cyclone Sportive on Sunday (April 21). The forecast isn’t quite as balmy, with a maximum of 13°C but with only light winds and no rain forecast, it’s a far cry from our South Downs Spring Sportive last month, which we were forced to postpone because of the atrocious conditions.

At least it’s given me a couple of extra weeks to get some more miles in before my 2013 debut, but I confess I’m still not fit enough to tackle anything other than the short route. With more than 1,900ft of climbing, that’ll be a challenge but it’s nothing compared to the Standard and Epic rides with 4,300 and 5,100ft of elevation gain respectively.

Both longer routes have a particularly challenging second half, beginning with the ascent of Leith Hill, the second-highest point in the South-East. It’s a brute, but not as bad as White Down, a 20 per cent test that’s rated as the worst in Surrey.

And there’s more! The climb up to Headley Heath shouldn’t be under-estimated, nor the final ramp up to the finish at Epsom Downs racecourse.

Full details at www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/sportives. See you Sunday.


Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly

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