Sportive preview: The Bristol Belter + recce vid
150km round the Mendips? In October? Count us in...
We're a sucker for a nice ride round the mendips here at road.cc towers, and if you fancy doing one in the company of plenty of like-minded types then why not check out the Bristol Belter, a new sportive on 3 October in association with the Specialized Concept Store. We took the time out to have a quick rant round the 150km classic route, and we're impressed.
Starting at the Redwood Lodge hotel on the edge of Ashton Court the route dips down to the coast and you'll get some great views over the Severn estuary before hitting the levels. After that there's a climb up the lovely Brockley Combe and a dash across the end of the Bristol Airport runway (not literally) before you arrive at the bottom of Burrington Combe.
Burrington's a climb of two halves: the picturesque romp through the cliffs and past the Rock of Ages before the testing drag to the real top of the hill. It's a good opener and you'll get a breather across the top of the Mendips before dropping down the other side for the signature climb of the day: Cheddar Gorge.
Cheddar's a spectacular climb with the jostling tat shops giving way to towering 400ft cliffs and some tight hairpins through cuts in the rock. After that it flattens out quite quickly, leaving you flicking down the block as you pick up speed on the higher sections where the winding road is a climber's dream.
The Mendips aren't done with you yet though: there's a dip down past Ebbor Gorge to Wookey Hole before a winch back up to the plateau. Enjoy the top gear rant down to Chewton Mendip and the quiet lanes that'll lead you past Chew Valley lake and the final stretch back to Ashton Court. Make sure you keep something in your legs for the last hurrah: Belmont Hill and a flat couple of miles to get yourself together for the final sprint.
Overall it's an excellent ride with a good mix of climbing, flat recovery sections and rolling lanes. For more info on the ride, head over to www.bristolbelter.com