Location: Oakmeeds Community College Station Road, Burgess Hill
Event: 26 August 2012
Report: Scott Hobro
“The Rumble is the one we are closest to because it’s the first we did. Personally I think it has got the best routes on it. We sort of mopped up all the good roads to ride on!”
For Rupert Rivett of SRS events - who are based in Brighton, East Sussex - it is a personal favourite and since its inaugural run out in 2008, has been the benchmark for the six other sportives SRS organise each year.
Starting at Oakmeeds Community College - where post-race food and a cycling video fest will be on offer - there is nothing too fanciful about The Burgess Hill Rumble Cyclosportive, which this year takes place on Sunday 26 August. Its success on the sportive calendar and the enjoyment it bestows on its participants derives from taking challenging climbs and the rewarding descents that follow, tranquil roads offset with mesmerising scenery then underpinning it all with well-thought out feed stations (all superbly facilitated village halls) and comprehensive support.
Perhaps most key though, is the event's four route options. “It starts in Burgess Hill and basically it goes up to Ashdown Forest, there are some nice lanes around the forest. There are four routes – we’ve got the Classic at 92 miles, Challenge at 65 miles, Tour at 43 miles and the Kermesse at 23 miles,” Rivett explains. The varying level of choices to entrants allows the sportive a universal appeal, not only in ability and experience, but age.
“We get people from your top notch riders who are riding lots of sportives and it goes down to families and people who have just come across the event to have a go at the short route."
“We start the rides in different timeslots - we always hope to make the events available to a wide scope of people who want a go,” Rivett said.
“We get people from your top notch riders who are riding lots of sportives and it goes down to families and people who have just come across the event to have a go at the short route. Burgess Hill is an excellent place to start from – we use Oakmeeds College as the HQ and there’s cycling films being shown there and all of the riders get something to eat after the ride. I think everybody will have a good day.”
The Kermesse route leaves the major climbs alone and is perfect for families and beginners. The opposite can be said for the Classic route, the 92 miles and 6132 feet of climbing linking South Downs with the North Downs taking in ascents such as Yorks Hill, Toys Hill, and Kidds Hill.
“The Classic has Yorks Hill, which is used by the Catford CC Hill Climb, and then comes back through Toys Hill. There quite a lot of climbing in it, it’s a good test.,” Rivett says. “If you’re not feeling up to that there are plenty of other routes as well which uses some of the parts the Classic does, there should be a route for everybody I hope.”
Whether it is the winding steep climb of Yorks Hill or to quote the SRS website the ‘cleat-breaking’ Cob Hill Lane, any aching is compensated by the surroundings, a just reward of some of the areas less-used roads and a payback which most would agree is more than fair for the investment.
“There are some lovely roads on it. Going over South Bounds, North Bounds, so it’s relatively traffic-free most of the route, which isn’t the easiest things when you’re living in the South East and we keep away from the main roads as much as we can," Rivett says.
“It’s roughly the same route as the Springtime Classic which we run in March but a bit longer, with about 20 miles added to the route including hills such as a short one called Cob Lane, which is quite a popular one is an unpopular way!”
Another feature of the ride is its feed stations for that well-earned break. Danehill Village Hall, Sundrige Village Hall, Forest Row Community Centre and Ardingly School Hall offer shelter, toilets and plenty of food and energy supplements, the TLC riders will need as they navigate their chosen course. Significantly, tried and tested savoury classics which will be a winner with most.
“We’ve got broom wagons, four feed stations on the Classic, three on the Challenge and one on the Tour. The Kermesse ride is a short route, it’s just straight out and back. The stops we are using are village halls so there’s shelter and toilets. There’s not just energy food but also savoury foods – sausage rolls and stuff like that,” Rivett adds.
Entry for The Burgess Hill Rumble, full details of all the routes and information for the day is available at the SRS Events website.