We've always said that we won't ever mess with the Southern Sportive course.
The Southern Sportive is one of the UK's classics and was the first event to use the daunting ridge of the stunning South Downs as it's course. First run in 2006, the event has been consistently praised as one of the most beautiful and flowing courses in the country. It's a riders ride, and we always intend to keep it that way.
Times change though, and as the sportive scene develops, a lot of you are looking for bigger challenges. So we've been looking at ways to offer you just that, but without forcing unwanted change on this much loved event. So, the original, classic full 155km route will remain unchanged, but if you're up to an extra challenge, we're ready to throw down the gauntlet.
We have added a finishing loop that will expand the beautiful and testing West Meon end of the classic route.
Called the Gauntlet, this challenge is available to all riders wanting to step up from the classic Southern 155km route.
The Gauntlet expands the classic Southern to an astounding 9,000 feet of climbing in just under 200k, making it the toughest ride in the south and a more than worthy end of the season target.
Compared to the traditional 155km Classic, The gauntlet adds another 35k and 780m (2450ft ) to an already established hard course. The profile includes four extra climbs of note and an incredible rolling saw tooth section that just has to be taken at speed to have any chance of taking the sting out of it's rollers. And all through the exquisite Meon Valley, one of the prettiest corners of this breathtaking part of the world.
The Gauntlet puts the Southern Sportive into the super league in terms of UK sportive challenges offering an incredible 9000ft of climbing in 195km of superb riding. And it doesn't change the Classic 155km course, which is still there, still an incredible ride and still a fantastic achievment. The Gauntlet forms extension loop, which breaks away from the Classic a very tempting 20k from the finish, (close enough to smell those cakes). It'll be a test of your form and your resolve which way to go at that point, but the choice is yours; go for Gold on the Classic, or take the plunge and pick up the Gauntlet? It's your ride...
The Gauntlet includes an extra checkpoint and feed station.