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A Great British Day Out: The Southern Sportive

by Henry Peacock

Celebrate a remarkable British summer with a classic British ride. The Southern Sportive was the first sportive based in that most English of icons, the South Downs back in 2006. And it's back for it's 7th year, featuring a choice of superb routes, £1 rider photos for charity, and possibly the smartest t shirt ever given out on a sportive - the striking Southern Sportive 'Britannic'design.

The Southern Sportive is built around a classic 155km South Downs loop, created in 2006 and praised by riders ever since, this is the ride that defined the South Downs as a sportive heartland.

A British Day Out

The event starts in the main 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. At 155km and with 2,500m of climbing, this ride deserves the classic tag. The course winds over the exquisite South Downs, mixing classic Downland climbs with flowing country lanes, passing through idyllic English villages and opening up to breath-taking views.

A Lumpy Ride

There are three other route variations to choose from too. The Wilier Gauntlet (192km) turns the Classic Southern Sportive into one of the nations toughest rides. The Gauntlet itself forms a 37km extension to the main Classic loop, cranking your kilometre count for the day to a whopping 192, with 3,000 metres of climbing to tackle! Carving northwards over into the beautiful Meon Valley, you will drop away and climb 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.

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

Southern Sportive T-shirt 

The event team draw on over 20 years of experience to bring you the best ride experience you can get. Superb route marking keeps on track, with top level on the 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 high quality finishers t-shirt too, sporting this years striking "Britannic" design, in celebration of a magnificent year! Plus, the organisers have got charity £1 rider photos too; download your pictures for just a £1 donation to a local charity.

Go to for full details and event entry.

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