Entries are selling out quickly for one of the toughest sportives in the South of England, the King of the Downs, taking place on Sunday 22 May. Part of Evans Cycles’ RideIt! Series, both the longer, 113-mile option and a shorter 56-mile course feature Box Hill, a central element of next year’s Olympic road race route.
The longer route certainly packs the climbs, with nine other punishing hills featuring in a circuit comprising two loops that intersect near Crawley. The shorter ride includes five of those, with 4,800 feet of climbing, and is focused around the Surrey Hills.
Entry costs £25 and full details of both rides are available on a dedicated page on the Evans Cycles website, but with more than half the 1,200 places gone, you’d better be quick.
The bike retailer’s marketing executive, Gareth Evans, recently undertook a recce of the route as captured in this short film, which also shows you it’s not just about the hills, there’s some lovely country lanes and undulating roads too.
Having said that, there’s no getting away from the fact that this is a sportive that is focused on the bumpier stuff. The climbs on that Western loop, in the order they are tackled, is:
• Leith Hill (451ft climbing in 2.1 miles)
• Pitch Hill (559ft climbing in 2.1 miles)
• Combe Bottom (422ft climbing in 2 miles)
• Ranmore Common West (271ft climbing in 1.5 miles)
• Box Hill (567ft climbing 2.6 miles)
The Eastern loop heads off through the Ashdown Forest and also comprises five climbs, including Titsey Hill, famous in cycling circles as the home of the Bec CC Hill Climb. The total height gain is 4,200 feet, with the hills in question being:
• Tulleys Farm (252ft climbing in 1.8 miles)
• Weir Wood Reservoir (342ft climbing in 1.3 miles)
• The Wall (406ft climbing in 0.9 miles)
• Yorks Hill (394ft climbing in 1.1 miles)
• Titsey - Bec CC Hill Climb (386ft climbing in 0.8 miles)
All participants get a goody bag worth £12. Routes are pre-marked with OS maps provided, timing is via electronic chip system, you get a free SIS energy product and feed stations en royte, full mechanical support. You can also hire a bike from Evans, should you need one, or use its Gore Bikewear ‘Try Before You Buy’ service.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.