As the name suggests, it’s not an easy ride by any means but it’s wholly enjoyable all the same. If you’re up to the challenge of some steep off-road sections, you’ll be given just reward with a series of exciting and action-packed downhill drops.
This route starts out from Plumpton Racecourse, right at the foot of the South Downs, so you’ll be thrown straight into the action. There’s only a couple of miles from crossing over the start line to reaching your first high peak, at the top of Ditchling Beacon, so you’ll need to ready your climbing legs early on. Fortunately this follows the South Downs Way trail section up the Beacon, rather than the punishing uphill road route.
The Sussex Downs hilltops are vast and sprawling, also varying dramatically in gradient and you’ll find sudden drops just as common as cruel climbs. As you head south towards the outskirts of Brighton, you’ll swap open fields for the Sussex Border Path, soon heading back north towards Saddlescombe – crossing over through Clayton and soon return to the brilliantly unpredictable hills of the South Downs.
These trails will eventually lead you back over the top of Ditchling Beacon, before it’s time to head out towards Lewes on the off-road paths for one more final loop that separates you from finishing. Once off the Downs, the final few miles are through forest and trails that will feel easy compared to life on the harsh but satisfying Sussex hills.
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