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Head for the South Downs and Tackle the 192km Southern Sportive Gauntlet

by Nick Gregory

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It's been a perfect summer so far - the sun shines, you ride your bike, you get fitter, you ride further. A season spent building fitness deserves a big challenge to finish on, and there are few bigger in the South than the Southern Sportive Gauntlet on September 14th. 

The Southern Sportive is built around one of the best Sportive courses in the country. Created in 2006 and praised by riders and press alike since, this is the ride that defined the South Downs as a sportive heartland. The classic Southern Sportive course rolls in at an impressive 155km, but The Gauntlet option ups the ante to a whopping 192km - with 3,000 metres of climbing to tackle. This places it amongst the nation's toughest rides. 

The Gauntlet extends the classic route northwards over into the beautiful Meon Valley, climbing onto the Winchester Downs before returning over the knuckles of the Gauntlet; a rapid series of sharp climbs and drops that will really test what you have left in the tank with over 100miles already in the legs. 



The event starts in the picturesque courtyard of Churchers College on the edge of Petersfield, and delivers you quickly onto the South Downs to take on three major ascents of the Downs' northern escarpment as you wind your way eastward. The return leg tracks south of the Downs ridge, but big climbs over Goodwood and Old Winchester Hill still stand between you and the finish. The scenery is second to none, mixing classic downland climbs with flowing country lanes and idyllic English villages. 

For a shorter day in the saddle, the Mid Route (112km) is a magnificent intermediate ride. The heart of the course is still there for you, with the day's best climbs and views on offer to complete a memorable event. Or go for the Short Route for an accessible 71km around the stunning eastern half of the full version that opens up the Southern Sportive to all-comers. 

The event team draw on over 20 years of experience to bring you the best day possible. Superb route marking keeps on track, with top level on-course support and feed stations along the way. Instant rider timing gives you feedback on your ride as you relax with free refreshments at the finish. You'll get a free finisher's t shirt too. 

For full details visit

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