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Wiggle Jurassic Beast REVIEW

by Mark Tearle

Date: 13th May 2012
Routes: Epic (101 miles), Standard (66 miles), Fun (36 miles) 
Price: Epic £26, Standard £24, Fun £16 - £3 surcharge if signed up on the day. Under 16's ride free if accompanied by a paying adult.
Feed Stops: Stocked with Maxifuel energy products, flapjacks and peanut butter sandwiches.
Venue: National Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset

1100 bike riders "Go Mad in Dorset" to try and "Tame the Beast"...on such a bright, sunny May day I really was hoping that the Beast would do one and just let me ride my bike!

Martin Barden gives us the safety talk

The Jurassic Beast, is so called, one because of the courses proximity and hugging of the Jurassic Coastline in this area of Dorset and two, well, because it is a bit of a beast what will all the hills and stuff.

I, like everyone else had to put the effort in of course, no point doing a sportive unless you are prepared to challenge yourself, either over the distance or against the clock (it's not a race remember) - so with a quiet resolve I set off with a batch of 20 or so other riders to see if we could metaphorically kick that beast in the family jewels!  

A short climb out from Bovington camp from the Tank Museum, heading north then a short loop to the west, the route then zigzags its way down towards the dramatic Jurassic coastline and rugged ridges of the Isle of Purbeck.  

Panorama of the Isle of Purbeck

From Lulworth Cove heading east is the sweetest climb I've had the pleasure of doing in the long time. Tyneham Hill rises and falls gently through the MOD training land, snaking steeper as it curves towards the ridge with delightful panoramic sea views along the coast and across the Isle of Purbeck as you reach the summit.  

On such a fine day this was a real treat. Last time I visited the Purbecks it was bucketing down with rain and you could barely see 10 yards ahead of you. Martin Barden of UK Cycling Events tells me that this is the first sunny day in the 3 years of running the Jurassic Beast.

It's hard to criticise any of the Wiggle Super Series Sportives and the Jurassic Beast is no exception. As far as events organisation goes UK Cycling Events have got it sussed and everything is run with very friendly, clockwork efficiency.  
I have been taking a closer interest in the entry fees for Sportives of late and with the Epic entry fee for Wiggle Super Series events at the princely sum of £26 I wonder what value for money you are receiving as a customer.

A fast descent

I won't necessarily make any comment about that, as value for money is as subjective as the socks you wear, I dare say the entry fee could be cheaper, but at what cost to the additional benefits you receive as an entrant?  It is worth noting that event organisers work incredibly hard to prepare an event for you to have as care-free a day as possible whilst out riding your bike and UK Cycling Events do this much better than most.

The route carries on along the ridge, then on towards Kimmeridge and Church Knowle before navigating round the very majestic ruins of Corfe Castle.  The road and junctions are fairly busy here, obviously being a key tourist attraction in this part of Dorset the area is teaming with day trippers and sightseers.  

Shady lanes around Corfe Castle

Crossing the A351, which is the main route down to the busy seaside town of Swanage, is a little tricky but given the volume of traffic it tends to move quite slowly as it bottlenecks around Corfe Castle.  

The route then takes you on a very pleasant loop down to Swanage, taking in a few more of the climbs, and a very nice view of Poole Harbour in the distance, along the way.  

Swanage promenade is delightful, the sandy beach offering a serene prospect as you cycle by - the bright azure sea looking so inviting.  There's a rather long climb that takes you out of Swanage towards Langton Maltravers.  On the descent of Langton Hill a number of riders, including me, were caught out by the sudden change of direction en route at Worth Maltravers - a loss of focus I expect after the challenging climb.


Taking a course back through Corfe Castle towards Wareham, the route then meanders back to Bovington through the very scenic Dorset countryside just inland from the Jurassic coast, never too far from a pleasing sea view.    

There were some nice flat and fast sections here, though the wind had decided to pick up a little, challenging those riders who were keen to make it back to HQ for a decent time.    

Sea Views

Then it was back to the Tank Museum to collect a medal for the achievement of completing the Sportive and a goody bag containing a copy of the April 2012 Cycling Plus magazine, a Virgin Active Bottle, a bottle of Muc Off, and a cereal bar.  For those entering one of the Wiggle Super Series, UK Cycling Events are offering a discount voucher for any of their other Sportives.  

For a few hours there I thought I was on holiday.  

The next Wiggle Super Sportive event is the rescheduled 'Ups and Downs' Sportive on the 20th May, followed by the 'Bournemouth Sportive' on 27th May.  

Did you tame the Beast?  Please stop by and rate the event here and please feel free to leave us a comment about your experiences.  

1 Comment

22nd May 2012 6:13pm andyjenkins wrote:

interested to read the info from Martin Barden re the weather because I rode this event last year as well and seem to recall it was nice and sunny then too, if a little windy.