South Shropshire features some of the mostly beautiful cycling countryside in the country.
Bordering the soft rolling country of Herefordshire to the south and the dramatic climbs on the Shropshire-Wales border, it is ideal cycling terrain for those who want a challenge, but who also want to enjoy dramatic scenery after all the effort getting to the top of a climb – not to mention the fast descents. With over 1470 metres of climbing in 100km, the ride will be challenging, but not over demanding.
Starting in the historic town of Ludlow and overshadowed by its imposing 11th century castle, the British Cycling registered South Shropshire Tors 100k sportive has been planned to make the most of this unique area.
Within half a kilometre of the start the route passes for four kilometres through the Oakley Park estate before gently rising and then dropping to follow the valley road alongside the river Teme to Leintwardine, a small town on the ancient roman Watling Way.
Leaving the Teme at Bucknell, and with 22km of flat road behind, the route gently rise for a further nine kilometres before dramatically steepening within the shadow of Rockall before topping Weston Hill, at 4112 metres, the highest point of the day’s ride. Just after crossing Offa’s Dyke, a short steep descent brings the riders down to Newcastle on Clun, and the first refreshment stop.
The next section sees a series of short and not so short climbs, starting with a pull to Mardu, before a short drop gives a bit of a breather before the seven kilometre climb up to the ancient Kerry Ridgeway and its dramatic views, which on a clear day, can see for up to 100 kilometres.
A fast drop down then off the end of the ridgeway to Bishops Castle brings a flatter section for the next 10km, followed by a further 10km of rolling hills before the last refreshment stop at Ticklerton.
Just over one kilometre after this point, Westhope is the most challenging of three further pulls before the last section which, despite a few rolls, is an overall drop back into Ludlow.
The sportive will be fully supported with signposting, two refreshment stops, first aid support and a broom. Riders will be manually timed.
The sportive is the main ride in Ludlow’s first Cycling Festival – with several other family orientated rides and activities such as local led rides ( for individuals and families), guided mountain bike rides, turbo time trial challenge, bike checks, family entertainment and live music. In addition there will be food, cakes, refreshments and a licensed bar.
The event is organised on behalf of by Macmillan Cancer Support who will benefit from all of the festival’s proceeds.
Details of the South Shropshire Tors Sportive route are at: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/4647801
On line entry to the South Shropshire Tors and further details of the Ludlow Cycling Festival can be found at: - http://ludlowcc.org.uk/ludlow-cycling-festival/.