Distance: 28, 61 or 85 miles
Best bit: Chris Boardman greeting you at the finish
Worst bit: Double header of Leith Hill and Whitedown. And the potholes
I’m more used to signing-on in a damp marquee in a field, so it was a shock to collect my event number for the Cycling Weekly Surrey Hills Cyclone in a luxuriously carpeted hall within Epsom Racecourse.
The event offers a classic route through the lanes and villages of this surprisingly hilly area, and the day was blessed with sunshine and dry roads – perfect!
It was downhill to start, off the Epsom Downs, then up to Headley and a blast around the back of Box Hill. Rather than climb up Box Hill, the route took us towards Shere via Coombe Bottom. Then it was on to Leith Hill and the narrow, 20 per cent climb of Whitedown. Ouch. After an eight-mile respite from the climbing, we hit the day’s final major ascent – Pebble Hill Road. Grinding to the top, a thankfully more sedate finish took us through Walton-on-the-Hill and eventually the welcome sight of Epsom’s gleaming white grandstand.
The cheerful face of cycling legend Chris Boardman welcomed us back. He had ridden the short route, chatting to fellow riders, giving an extra dimension to their grand day out.
Missed it? Try this…
The next event in the 2013 Cycling Weekly Sportive Series is the Ripon Revolution on Sunday June 23. Three routes are on offer: 65, 77 or 102 miles, starting and finishing in Ripon.
This article was first published in the May 30 issue of Cycling Weekly. Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release where ever you are in the world International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!