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PUNCHEUR Sportive 2015

08/03/2015 - Ditchling, East Sussex - Sportive

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Previous Years Rating: 92.9% based on 45 reviews

Leaving the HQ car park at Ditchling Recreation Ground, you head east towards Lewes, the South Downs looming over your right shoulder. Before reaching Lewes, you swing north and head for Ashdown Forest, via Barcombe, Spithurst, Sharpsbridge, Piltdown, Fletching and Nutley, all on unclassified, quiet, pretty roads, and with excellent road surfaces. You'll get some speed up on this stretch, although the last few km to Nutley is a draggy uphill.

Once through Nutley, you turn right into the beautiful Ashdown Forest (take care across the cattle grid) and enjoy the expansive views on all sides - no trees lining the route here - as you snake east and then north towards Hartfield. Before reaching Hartfield you take a sharp left and start the western leg of the route, still part of the Forest to begin with, then back into pretty tree-lined roads that take you to Colemans Hatch then across the A22 (take care) at Wych and head for Weir Wood Reservoir. The reservoir is halfway and the feedstation will be there. You will need to get your electronic timing tag registered as well as refilling bottles and grabbing some goodies.

You then head north for the B2110 and then west for Turners Hill. You can really push the pace along here on a gently rolling stretch with a great road surface as you go straight though Turners Hill and then swing left and south, heading for Ardingly Resevoir. You turn right for Balcombe then head west again to Handcross.

Once through Handcross village you take a left and start the very fast southern leg of the course, which takes you via Warninglid and Wineham down to the B2116, where you turn left and head for Hurstpierpoint. You're only a few miles away from Ditchling now, but when you get to Ditchling High Street, instead of going straight across the roundabout to the HQ, you turn right and take the mile-and-a-half approach to the Beacon.

2013 Route

The Beacon is about 1km, averaging 10%. It's painful if you want to get it done fast, but you can spin up it 10 minutes or so if you want to. At the summit, get off the road to the left, get your timing tag registered by a marshall, and enjoy the panoramic views for as long or as short as you want, before going back down the Beacon into Ditchling and back to HQ for a warm drink and some pasta.

Overall distance: 108km, 69 miles
Total ascent: 1712 metres - apart from the Beacon, this ascent statistic is mostly draggy climbs or short hills to punch your way over - no other major climbs.

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