Santini Cotswold Spring Classic

Now in its fourth year, the Cotswold Spring Classic sportive has a new sponsor and a new route – with extra hills added early in the day that proved a severe test for some riders, and a severe shock for others.

The weather was shocking too, with April showers in the morning turning to April downpours in the afternoon. But that didn’t stop just over 500 riders (from a fully booked-out field of 750) setting off from the start.

After the early climbs up Hyde Hill and Cherrington Hill, respite came with 25 miles of fairly flat riding through the Cotswold Water Park, before the route aimed north to reach Bibury. But then the climbing returned, with increasingly steep hills made even harder as the weather worsened and the route aimed dead into the wind.

At about 60 miles, the routes split, and riders on the 105km option were almost home and dry. Unsurprisingly, many on the long option headed home too, leaving just 98 hardy souls to complete the 105-mile course.

At the finish, everyone agreed that the new route was much harder than last year. “But much more interesting” said one rider, “and definitely a challenge – whatever the weather!”

Total ascent: 105km -1,220m / 100-mile – 2,241m
Terrain: Hills to start, flat in the middle, more hills to finish (especially on the long course)
Best: Small field, so no big queues at the start.
Worse: The final part of the long route, including killer climbs Catswood Hill and Old Neighbourhood Hill (both one-in-four)
Starters = 516
Finishers (105km) = 396
Finisher (105 miles) = 98
Male/Female split = 89%/11%
Oldest rider = David Watson from Manchester Velo, aged 71. Did the short route in 4-56-31

Missed it? Try this…

The team behind the Santini Cotswold Spring Classic have added a new event to their programme: The Santini Cotswold Autumn Classic is on Sunday 7 October 2012.

This article was first published in the May 3 issue of Cycling Weekly. You can also read our magazines on Zinio and download from the Apple store.