Update! Magnificat preview ride… and they're off!

VecchioJo gets ready to pedal the 126 miles of the Magnificat, all in the name of research

Jo is now fidgeting on the start line (read yesterday's pre-fidgety musings below) and we'll be following his progress throughout the day courtesy of his tweets and the very smart Champion Chip tracker - click on the link and to see him and  all the other riders on today's Magnificat recce teearing around the map, or stopping for tea and cake.

Go Jo go!

Ah, I appear to have not been paying attention. When I agreed to take part in tomorrow’s preview ride of this year’s Magnificat I should have looked at the fine print where I’d have read we’d be pedalling the full 126 miles. Ah indeed.

The UCI Magnificat itself (formerly the Highclere Castle sportive) takes place on the 13 June 2010 and riders can chose from the 126-mile Magnificat, aimed at competitive, experienced riders, the Route80Cat – an 80-mile route designed for experienced club riders, or the CommuniCat, a 51-mile ride pitched at the first-timer. There’s even the Kiddicat where any young cyclist between the ages of 6 and 12 can ride as many laps of a 1.9 mile circuit in the grounds of Newbury Racecourse as they like. Now in it’s 5th year the event has moved home from Highclere Castle to the improved facilities of Newbury Racecourse and taken on Verenti Bikes as the title sponsor with Mavic supplying mechanical support and Torq providing energy drink, gel and bar aid to the anticipated 2,000 riders.

For this proper century plus more reconnaissance ride I’ll be astride one of the new Verenti Rhigos bikes which will be electronically tagged (an service that's also available to Magnificat riders) so you can follow my progress via the wonders of modern technology here. If my little dot is stationary for any length of time it will be because I will be stopped at one of the feed stations and not lying down in a comfortable grass verge, oh no.

The route looks to be around a pretty but, um, refreshingly lumpy part of the English countryside as it heads south of Newbury towards Andover skirting Salisbury Plain to loop under Winchester and hitting the edge of the South Downs and thence over the North Downs towards Basingstoke before heading for home, tea and medals.
Luckily we’ll be supported throughout the day by Torq with their tasty energy snacks and Mavic will be helping with mechanical support, I do hope they’ll be following in a big yellow car so I can hang on and get my rear-derailleur checked frequently (ahem), and top cycling photographist Phil O'Connor will be taking pictures of the day.

Actually,that all sounds like rather good fun.

Right, best have some pasta, lots of it.

For information on this year’s Magnificat ride go to


Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.

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