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Highclere Sportive

Ben Hardisty writes…

Back in March during an unseasonably sunny spell and therefore full of enthusiam, I entered my brother David and I into the Highclere Sportive full distance ride of 117 miles. One thing or another (or was it common sense ?) led us to change our plans the day before and we realigned our goals to the shorter ride of 74 miles.

And we were glad we did. On an energy sapping, very warm and very humid day, on a rolling course we toiled away, rarely alone, occasionally tagging along with a passing bunch and sometimes leading a bunch (note quite unintentionally!) of mainly stragglers.

The ride reminded me how beautiful the English countryside can be, passing through a few of the beatiful villages and small towns of North Hampshire, with the top of many of the climbs providing superb and long reaching views. The climb out of Inkpen (Walbury Hill) with two short but sharp gradients provided the main test cresting a hill near the Wayfarers walk. And while the rest of the ride was flatter it was mainly long drags and shallow descents.

Overall the ride organisation was superb, with one well manned feed station and two water stations on the short ride alone. The start/finish area was in the grounds of Highclere Castle, very picturesque indeed. We even had a commentator congratulating everyone as they finished.

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