The Meon Valley Riser is set in rolling Hampshire countryside, almost entirely on quiet country roads. Most years, this event enjoys spring sunshine.
This year, though sunny, the temperature barely topped 6°C. Even so, over 300 riders set out in the freezing morning sun.
Just 12 miles from the start, with a few hills already climbed, riders reach Butser Hill and realise why the event is called the Riser. At 1.5 miles in length with an average gradient of 3.8 per cent (rising to double figures in sections), Butser Hill provides a real challenge and many on the day were left walking.
There are six recognised climbs on the short (47-mile) route. The longer (84-mile) route, with a total of 1,100m climbing, takes in two additional climbs, including Stoner Hill. Stoner Hill, known locally as ‘Little Switzerland’ due to its switchback turns, has a lower average gradient than Butser Hill (3.3 per cent). It’s three miles in length and, having ridden 30 miles with 50 to go, is a real grind.
Both distances are popular with club riders, but a number of individuals and groups across a range of ages take part. A reasonable level of fitness is required to complete either route; although they’re certainly enjoyable, riders shouldn’t be deceived by the ‘short’ distance.
Missed it? Try this…
The Hampshire Hilly 100 on May 12 offers similar terrain and provides a great challenge: www.hampshirehilly.moonfruit.com
Distance: 47/84 miles
Terrain: country roads
Best bit: reaching the summit and the view from Butser Hill
Worst bit: The freezing temperature
This article was first published in the April 25 issue of Cycling Weekly. Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release where ever you are in the world International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!