Routes

The sportive will offer two challenging routes, through the beautiful scenery of the Berkshire Downs. One route is 110km, and the other 195km.

Long and Short Routes to 41 km

The first 41 kilometres are common to both routes. The event starts in Theale, and almost immediately goes up a short, steep hill, giving a taste of what is to come later. There's then an easy meander through Upper Basildon before Aldworth and the start of a rolling and exposed section through the Ilsleys and up to Farnborough, that can be especially tough in a westerly wind. Then, a right turn and a big chainring pull up to the top of the Downs above Wantage, before plunging down the brilliant three-stepped descent of the B4494 into the edge of the town. A long descent usually means there's a climb coming up, and you now ascend a long drag back over the Downs, and enjoy a further descent into the Valley of the Racehorse and Lambourn.

Short Route to 71 km

At Lambourn, the route divides, and the short route heads East down the valley of the River Lambourn for a few gentler kilometres. At Welford Park , the route turns right up a short climb, and crosses the A4 to the village of Kintbury, and onwards into the maze of small roads and short hills between here and Newbury, rejoining the long route at Hamstead Marshall.

Long Route to 104km

Lambourn to Ashbury is typical sweeping Downland country. The ancient
Waylands Smithy is on your right - it's ace, old, and probably had people buried there once!  The Ashbury/Bishopstone/ Hinton Parva rollercoster" will thrill. Use your momentum to power up short but teep climbs and hold your nerve for thrilling descents. Take care though.


From Liddington the route follows the Ridgeway trail, going close to the Bronze / Iron age Liddington Castle.  Sensibly, the route  skirts round to the south of Swindon and there are some superb views down onto the Swindon plain from the Ridgeway.

On over the M4 to Chiseldon now, turn right at the T junction to swoop down into the village of Wroughton.  Save some energy as you have the delights of Red Barn hill to climb up to the Science museum-see if you can spot the stored Honda cars in the
fields around the museum!. Ponder what a "new car" must be like after being stored in a field for several months.  Gather yourself though, as you turn left off this road towards Marlborough.


See that White Horse cut into the hills in front of you? You're going to climb past that!  Search out your 39x25 as you're going to need every last sprocket tooth.  Onwards then, in the appropriate gear to scale Hackpen Hill, with its ' Alpelike' switchbacks, which has a sting in its tail just when you think it's starting to level out. The effort is well worth it with spectacular all round views and the final rendezvous with the Ridgeway trail.

With Hackpen behind you, swoop down to Rockley and onwards to Marlborough.  Careful as you enter Marlborough, as you are a visiting "Grockle" (tourist) and your fellow Grockles will be trying in vain to park their cars on the wide high street and may not be concentrating very well. Don't worry though, soon you'll have done half the ride and there's a feedstop coming up. There's a timing mat here, so make sure you cross it.

Long Route to 156km

Now with renewed energy you enjoy some typical Wiltshire countryside as the route works its way through some lovely small villages and short climbs. The Kennet and Avon canal is crossed for the first time, the second crossing being after the next control in about another 50km.

On the next climb up to the White Horse after Pewsey, you'll be searching for your 25 tooth again.  Through the Collingbournes and onwards to Wexcombe, East Grafton, Oxenwood and Grafton you'll find some short steep hills. There are a number of tank crossings on the plain near the Collingbournes and do not be surprised to see one or two military helicopters in the air, but don't worry, they are not Police helicopters checking your speed!

There is a nice pub in Shalbourne which should be open and provides a supplementary refreshment point. The landlady has been warned that several hundred cyclists will be passing by and has shown excellent hospitality to us on our reconnaissance rides.

The final control is a little way after Inkpen on Acorn Ridge (yes, that does mean a slight climb) but is a beautiful, peaceful spot where you can take on board final refreshments for the last hills around Boxford and final run back to Theale.

Long and Short Routes to 195km and 110km

After a few kilometres negotiating the maze, you emerge at Hamstead Park , to cross the A4 once again and head over the ridge and back into the Lambourn Valley, passing through Boxford. This is a section with some short, sharp climbs that will test the legs, as you're getting towards the end of the ride. After crossing the B4009, you climb Red Shute Hill, then the remainder of the ride is largely flat, crossing Bucklebury Common, and the final short but leg-breaking ascent out of Bradfield back towards Theale.

Short Route

Long Route

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