You’d be just as mad to pass this by as you would be to sign up with eagerness, as the biting cold and Christmas hangover will threaten to hold you back. But it’s an early chance to blow away the festive cobwebs nonetheless on a temperate terrain that will keeping you rolling throughout without any testing climbs. Both Standard and Epic routes are kept relatively brief – to minimise the impact of the possibly inclement weather and lack of fitness all round. Those that have been training fastidiously through winter, though, will be able to enjoy the sprawling seasonal countryside of Suffolk as you pass through one sleepy village after another.
Looping around in an anti-clockwise circle, you’ll dip as far south as the eastern edges of Haverhill. It’s a straightforward first few miles – albeit slightly uphill – until the Epic riders go off onto their own small loop that passes through Brinkley, Balsham and West Wickham, among other villages, before re-joining the main loop.
Continuing to head south alongside the River Stour, the course turns once you hit Kedington and starts to head home. One or two prolonged climbs are exposed on the final straight back home, dipping up and down as you pass through Stradishall and Lidgate among other villages, but these hills aren’t substantial.
Instead, they’re easy to roll up and give you chance to power downhill on their return drop. Soon enough you’ll be back at base – hopefully, still warm. Here’s to many more sportives being ticked off in the year as part of the resolutions list – this being the first!