Say goodbye, hopefully the next time you see it will be in Eastbourne
Say goodbye, hopefully the next time you see it will be in Eastbourne

Riding the Wiggle CX Century


I’ve written a couple of articles previously about getting ready for the Wiggle CX Century, one on the type of training needed and another on the delight that is choosing your kit, so I won’t go through all that again.


My main worry in the week leading up to the CX Century was the weather. May and June are generally dry on the Downs, but as we get into July the rains can come. Rain and chalk do not make a good mix and it’s not a Southern Softy thing either! Chalk when wet is beyond slippery and in the winter months I will steer well clear of it. It can make climbing nigh on impossible and descending a terror. On only one of my previous attempts had it rained, so I had high hopes. In the end we had fine weather, but to show how lucky we were, the following day was a full on soaker, raining almost all day, the weather gods had been kind.


Proper pre-event nutrition is important on long rides...

Proper pre-event nutrition is important on long rides…


The adventure started the day before with our group of five and our hotel. I decided to leave work early, arrive at Winchester in time to have a pub dinner on the way to the hotel and an early night. The rest of the party went with the ‘let’s leave it to the last-minute and arrive after 10 o’clock!’ plan.


Phone calls and texts were passed, nobody had thought to check the route to the hotel, or bring lights! The fact that the hotel was on a motorway service station and only accessible to bikes by riding up an unpaved road and leaping over a fence, hadn’t made them change their plans. But what would a ‘cross ride be without some adventure? Suffice to say they finally made it and after stocking up with garage food we were all tucked in and ready for our early start,


The ride through the lanes around Winchester to the start was a delight and we even managed not to get lost. The start area was in a large park and ride car park and there was plenty of activity as we arrived. After registering we picked up holdalls which we could dump our spare kit in and have it delivered to the 100k check point and the finish. That way if you wanted to bail early you could still get your kit.


Choose your accommodation carefully. You can't get much safer than having your bike in your room!

Choose your accommodation carefully. You can’t get much safer than having your bike in your room!


As usual at any cycling event, a large amount of time was spent looking at other people’s bikes! I would say over 90% of the bikes were cyclo-cross machines. Every type, in all materials and of all ages. I even saw a touring bike with standard side pull calipers! Tyres were on the portly side, there’s no UCI scrutineer here although the organisers had stipulated a 40mm limit. I had gone with a pair of Schwalbe Smart Sams, which I was running tubeless. The clearance was tight, but I saw tighter!


Not quite sure what the performance benefit of purple streamers are, but these two riders considered them worthwhile!

Not quite sure what the performance benefit of purple streamers are, but these two riders considered them worthwhile!


After a brief safety talk the large bunch – around 150 riders for this first running – set off and it wasn’t long before the front riders had upped the pace. I had decided no to get caught up in the early madness and was going to pace myself. So I was happily following the wheel in front down a single track lane when all my plans went out the window.


Continued overleaf


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6 Responses

  1. October 25, 2015

    […] lot of my summer riding has been on-road, the Lake’s did get a hard workout preparing for the CX Century […]

  2. January 19, 2016

    […] and when I do I will gladly take the Rogue with me, it should be perfect for something like the CX Century that I rode last year. Once I’ve given it a good try out I’ll let you know how I got […]

  3. January 21, 2016

    […] their CX Century – I rode this event and it was one of my highlights of 2015, you can read it here – including the promise of new events to be added later in the year. ‘Cross sportives […]

  4. February 22, 2016

    […] the South Downs Way, Winchester to Eastbourne non-stop. I rode this last year (read all about it here) and rate it as a proper challenge, something to brag about around the cafe table. It’s a […]

  5. April 23, 2016

    […] and lanes, I’ll let you know how they performed, hopefully they will see me through the CX Century, with some feeling still in my hands. Have a look at my preview video below to get a closer look at […]

  6. November 23, 2016

    […] Looking around the car park I spotted the usual mix of cyclo-cross and mtb’s, but what always surprises me are the tourers! Most of the events I have ridden always have a few tucked away. Most have wider clearances and cantilever brakes, but there’s are always the odd one with side pull brakes and a set of mudgaurds. One day I’ll have to follow them around and see how they do… Read More […]

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