The 2012 Wiggle Bournemouth Sportive, will take place on 27 May. It starts from the outskirts of the seaside town Bournemouth, and has a great new venue with excellent facilities to cope with the increase demand for this event.
The two route options of the epic at 100 miles and the standard at 70 miles are set across the three Counties of Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire.
The ride starts steadily with a trot up the eastern side of the Avon to Ringwood, where it doubles back across the A31 and into some of the loveliest scenery in southern England, right on the edge of the New Forest. All too soon it crosses back across the river at Fordingbridge and enters the rolling downs south of Salisbury, which is where the fun starts. A seemingly-endless gentle drag ends with a short ramp to Rockbourne Down and a main road descent towards Salisbury.
Just before it gets there, the route, based on a favorite Bournemouth Arrow training run, takes a sharp left and follows the valley of the Ebbesbourne, climbing steadily for miles until, just east of Shaftesbury, it turns south past Donhead St Mary and tackles the first "quality climb" of the day. Sharp and not too short, it is the first of three big ‘ones on the epic ride – others being the Bulbarrow and Milton Abbas - the only one of the three that features in the standard ride.
That’s not to suggest that the Standard route lacks climbing. After Win Green, there’s a fast decent into and a good climb out of a valley just before the ride scoots across Cranborne Chase. "The cliff" out of Tarrant Rushton, a long, curving climb after 65 miles will feel challenging and get the legs and heart pumping.
Having crossed the River Allen, the standard and epic both head through lumpy rather than hilly countryside close to Verwood, passing picture-postcard cottages straight out of Hansel and Gretel. The route then cruises down what is claimed to be the smoothest five miles of tarmac in Hampshire. This undulating minor road runs alongside the main A338, depositing riders back at the village of Hurn with a mere mile to go to the event headquarters and a well-earned finish.
While never outrageously hard, this Bournemouth sportive feels challenging enough, especially if ridden with a bit of pace. The route balances quiet roads, sublime scenery, and the challenge of the three quality climbs of, Win Green, Bulbarrow and Milton Abbas. You will enjoy the panoramic views of distant Somerset from Dorset’s highest point, Bulbarrow, the picture postcard view of Milton Abbey School and the model village of Milton Abbas going up the climb.
The event includes all the sophistication you would expect, including: showers, toilets, electronic timing, well stocked feed stations, parking, event photography, mechanical support, bike wash and most importantly, an enjoyable and extremely well marked course.
In addition all event riders in 2012 will receive a goody bag including a copy of Cycling Plus Magazine, a water bottle and loads of free energy products and bars.
If riders book by the first of April, they will also receive a free 'Maxi Fuel Race' pack.