By Victor Alway
Much like the New Forest Spring sportive, which runs earlier in the year, this event also takes pride in being a ‘must do’ on many cyclists’ tick lists. As a result, this has also sold out long before the day on each of the years it has run, so early booking is essential to avoid disappointment.
The New Forest 100 Sportive
Saturday 14th September 2019
Somerley House, Ringwood, Hampshire, BH24 3PS
>> The New Forest 100 event page
One of the highlight of this ride are the first blushes of autumn colour present in the national park’s foilage — transforming the forest into a southern English wonderland. As a result of this mollifying scenery, combined with a relatively low 4,461ft of climbing, the Epic 100-mile route — for those who choose it — could potentially be one of the easiest century rides you’ll do.
You’ll start your ride by crossing the River Avon and you’ll soon reach the pretty market town of Ringwood and then you’ll really start to appreciate the full extent of this area’s beauty. The first incline takes you up Down Thorny Hill and you can start to see out across the forest. After cresting this section you’ll roll into Burley, a popular tourist destination known for its excellent ice cream. Once you’ve passed through Burley you head deep into the Forest towards Rhinefield House, taking a left up the narrow Ornamental Drive. The climb proper isn’t too long and has a steady gradient peaking at 14 per cent for a small section.
After this climb you head in a fairly direct route back towards Ringwood over the top of the forest, before turning right along a WW2 airstrip which took us towards Fritham. This is an absolute highlight of the ride, the views, the smooth, flat road — you can see for miles.
As you turn left into Fritham, you’ll almost certainly come across free-roaming New Forest ponies, and maybe cattle or donkeys – slow down and give them a wide berth when they are on or beside the road.
Once at the village of Wick, Epic riders will head off for a long loop along the sheltered back lanes east of Salisbury, taking in attractive scenery in such areas as Farley, West Winterslow and West Dean. Once the extra miles have been added it’s time to rejoin the main route and you’ll skip back to the other side of the River Avon and head
through Cranborne, Verwood and Three Legged Cross on the way back to the finish line. The short and punchy climbs will suit the budding puncheurs on the sportive circuit.
You then take the pretty back roads back to the Somerley Estate and the finish line. The estate isn’t normally open to the public and so the event day is a rare opportunity to view the grounds.
1 Pound Lane- Burley Descent This segment will start at Thorny Hill as you start to look across to the New Forest National Park. This is a gentle incline that will really warm the legs up. If you’re on the 100-miler, this won’t take much out of the levers if you cruise up, especially in a group.
2 Bolderwood Climb Overall, this ride could be described as flat- this is the only real test of the day in the way of climbing. Topping out at 14%, this ascent allows you to have a bit of competitive fun and stretch the legs. The full segment comprimises 6.4km after turning on to the hill, with a cattle grid at the base.
3 Runway Dash This may not be a hill but it’s certainly a highlight of the ride. As the segment name suggests it’s a dead-straight strip of tarmac to really have some fun. Enjoy, but abide by the rules of the national park!
What you get
- Experienced event team
- Expertly planned and signed route
- Free nutrition stops
- Timings and certificate
- Mechanical and medical support
- Bespoke medal and finisher gifts
- Bike Wash Facilities
- Web service results
- Onsite parking and catering
Book your place on the New Forest 100 now to avoid disappointment.
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