There aren?t too many more opportunities to enter a cyclo-sportive this season, but one that stands out on the calendar and still has a few places is Trailbreak?s Southern Sportive.

In its third year, the 155km South Downs challenge has gone from strength to strength and is looking at 1,000 riders for 2008.

Starting and finishing at Petersfield in Hampshire, it offers something for both sportive veterans and novices, being neither excessively difficult nor a piece of cake. Zig-zagging across the South Downs and taking in climbs including Tower Hill, Duncton Hill and Goodwood, your legs are going to know about it. But the picturesque roads in-between, flanked by rolling fields of golden corn and classic Downs scenery offer pleasant respite.

September is the new August, so the weather should be great (everybody touch wood). What more excuse do you need?

Click on www.southernsportive.com for more information or to book your place.

* Trailbreak?s busy sportive calendar also offers you the chance for a warm-up and a cool-down from the Southern Sportive, in the form of its last two Sunday Sportives of the season. They take place at Woodcote in the Chilterns (August 17) and Bramley near Guildford (October 12). To register or for more info, go to www.trailbreak.co.uk.