Wiggle CX Sportive Series
Wiggle CX Sportive Series
The new Wiggle CX Sportive Series, another reason to get a ‘cross bike!
As you may know, we are rather fond of our cyclo-cross here and on our sister site CycleTechReview, so much so that it seems wrong to put our ‘cross bikes away for the summer, or maybe relegating them to commuting and training. If only there was something to do with them ‘off-season’…
Well it seems the fine chaps at the Cycle Events Organistaion and on-line retailer Wiggle had the same thought and have been slowly building a series of cyclo-cross sportives over the years. This year will see them run six events, from January through to November.
The series started off in January with the Wiggle Chilterns Wildwood CX, March will see the series head to Duncton in Sussex for the Wiggle South Downs Sting CX. April’s Wiggle Surrey Hills Gravelcross CX Sportive which has it’s own closed two kilometer gravel start and finish. The series then takes a break, to give you the chance to build up for the big one, the Wiggle CX Century. With another event in September that has yet to be confirmed, the series finishes with the Wiggle Salisbury Saxon CX.
The format is a mix between a road and mtb sportive and ridable on any bike, well almost any. With ride distances from forty to eighty kilometers and with a mix of tarmac, bridle paths, gravel, in fact pretty much any kind of road surface, bike choice will have a big impact on your ride. Will you go ‘cross and use your speed and finesse to get you round, or will you go large and thrash your mtb over the route?
Each event will include all the features you would expect from a well organised sportive: choice of course distances, full course marking, detailed route maps, support vehicle/mechanical assistance, free CNP energy drinks, support/feed stations, free allocation of energy snacks for each rider at support stations and finish, on site catering, electronic rider timing, immediate results for each rider at the finish with Bronze, Silver and Gold standards and an on-line results service – what more could you ask?
While bike choice is up to you – the organisers even make a point of showing who used what type of bike on the route, a great chance to indulge in a bit of tribal rivalry!
There is one event where only one type of bike is allowed and it’s going to be a tough one. On July 4th, five hundred riders will set out on the first Wiggle CX Century. All riders must be on a ‘cross bike; maximum tyre width 40mm, no suspension. The route? It’s an mtb classic, with one hundred miles of rolling Sussex chalk downlands – the South Downs Way. This iconic route is must ride for mtb’ers and now could become a UK ‘cross riders right of passage! A route that can stand up to any American gravel race or Italian Strade Bianchi. Give three cheers for the South Downs Way!
I’ve ridden the South Downs Way seven times now, starting back in the good ol’ days with a rigid mtb, sporting cantilever brakes and toe straps. As the years have passed and equipment has improved the South Downs Way has remained a challenge. This wonderful ribbon of chalk, winds up and down the Sussex Downs, taking you through some of England’s prettiest landscapes. If the weather is good, you can expect to be battered by the rock hard, rutted trail and blinded by the sun bouncing off the chalk. If it rains…
We’ll be riding all of the coming Wiggle CX series and will report back to let you know how we get on, maybe even convincing you to have a go at the next one? The Wiggle CX Sportive Series could be just what you need. Riding a ‘cross bike over what can be at first look, completely mad terrain, can be daunting, but the thrill of completing the challenge without six inches of travel and giant tyres is fantastic. Yes a road bike may be faster on the black stuff and yes a full suspension mtb is a better choice for downhill, but the joy of a ‘cross bike is taking on everything the route throws at you, with what is a pretty basic machine that is still fit for purpose.
Look out for me on route and say “Hi!”; I could probably do with a push up that next hill!
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