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Still Time to Enter the Evans Cycles RIDE IT Northumberland Sportive - 23 November 2014

by Nick Gregory

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Evans Cycles RIDE IT Series will be heading up North next weekend - Sunday 23 November - with their Northumberland event, taking riders across lands once ruled by the Roman Empire that boasts more castles than any other county in England. Don't be put off by the colder weather - this is the perfect chance to get some scenic winter miles in. 

The ride sets off from the 16th Century Queen Elizabeth High School in the quaint town of Hexham, close to the Northumberland National Park district. From Hexham the route heads south into the Hexhamshire Moors, a designated 'Site of Special Scientific Interest' (SSSI), first past Dipton Wood before skirting the edge of the Derwent Reservoir and on to Linzgarth, where the long route splits off. 

Those tackling the long route will then head into St John's Chapel which marks the start of the Chapel Fell, the highest paved pass in England. The climb features in Simon Warren's book of the 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs in the UK, and at well over 2 miles in length, with an average gradient of 8%, it'll test the fittest of riders but promises breath-taking views on a clear day. From here the only way is down with some fast and fun descending before one last climb over Souther Gill to complete before re-joining riders on the medium route at Nenthead. 



From Nenthead the route back certainly isn't flat, but from a high point on Kevelin Moor it's more down than up as you're losing height all the way to the finish back in Hexham. It's a challenging one from the off, with a real mix of short, sharp climbs and long grinding ascents that will leave you with a real sense of pride (and relief!) upon finishing. 

As with all RIDE IT events there are routes of varying distances: 12, 31, 54 and 70 miles, plus the usual friendly staff and fellow riders throughout. There will be fully way-marked routes, GPS files available in advance, electronic chip timing, well stocked HIGH5 feed stations, free Garmin hire, bike wash facilities and both mechanics & a broomwagon out on course. 

Places are still available so sign-up today and clock up some pre-Christmas miles: