Cycling Weekly 125
10/09/2017 - Cheshire - Sportive
Weeks to go until event: less than 24 weeks
We celebrated our 125th anniversary with 125 miles in the saddle in the glorious Cheshire countryside last year, and so successful was the event that we've decided to give it a regular slot on our sportive calendar. With an Epic 23 per cent climb and timed lap of the international Oulton Park Circuit among the route highlights it's easy to see why!
Starting out at the revered Oulton Park Race Circuit we first send you off on an untimed lap of the circuit, which as well as easing you into the sportive gives you an opportunity to recce the circuit before that all-important timed lap.
Fresh off the track you are invited to explore rural Cheshire and some of the best scenery it has to offer. Epic riders start by heading north for a quick dip into Delemere Forest Park, while those who have opted to ride the Standard route continue off to the west before heading south. Epic riders,in the meantime, continue their northern loop by zigzagging their way over and under railways and brooks.
Now heading south we rejoin the Standard and Short riders and in unison are treated to a fleeting glimpse of Beeston Castle's remains - shortly after which the course splits for a second time sending Epic riders further west to catch a glance of Wales over the River Dee.
From here we start on an easterly tack passing through the pretty village of Audlem, then on up to Wybunbury. Soon after, the Short riders will veer off west to head for home, while the Standard and Epic riders continue towards their toughest challenge of the day, Mow Cop.
With just under a mile of continuous climbing, and the gradient incrementally increasing as you get closer to the top, this is not a climb to underestimate, so make sure you have sufficient fuel in the tank!
Just after the level crossing you will begin your ascent. Starting out with a fairly comfortable nine per cent average, the road soon ramps up to a cruel 2o per cent before easing off prior to the reaching the sharpest gradient of the climb. Now, with mind and body lockwd in battle, you must mine deep into your reserves as the road rises at a ridiculous 23 per cent. But with great physical exertioncomes a steady flow of endorphins, and after all of your hard work you will be rewarded with the views of the picturesque Mow Cop Castle and a wide-angle shot of the fantastic Staffordshire and Cheshire countryside.
As we now head west for home, all that climbing can only mean one white-knuckle descent down to Astbury, after which we continue to wind our way through Cheshire's canal-bordered lanes. Closing in on the finish, after an Epic 125 miles we put you through your last test, an all-out sprint to the finish line via a timed lap of Oulton Park Circuit.