We're big fans of the Mendips here at road.cc. They're our local hills and there's all sorts of lovely riding to be had on the roads (and trails) criss-crossing them. And, of course, the iconic Cheddar Gorge. So any excuse to ride them really, and one good excuse is the Bristol Belter which sets out from Redwood Lodge Country Club on 1 September 2013.
The Belter has moved forward a bit in the schedule from the end of September, but the shape of the ride is much the same. There's three loops (75km, 115km and 151km) with the longest packing in 1,900m of climbing. The long and medium rides both take in the classic Cheddar Gorge climb, and there's plenty of other ups and downs along the way too.
This year the Belter has teamed up with ThermaTech, a New Zealand maker of quality outdoor clothing, and they're offering their popular Essential range long sleeve base layers for a heavily reduced event price of £19 (RRP £35) to everybody who signs up. If you prefer the short sleeve version then that's just £18 rather than the RRP of £30; you can add either to your online entry. The Essentials baselayers are designed to be lightweight and comfy, and use a high-wicking hollow-core synthetic fabric.
The Belter has a reputation for good food and facilities, with good feed stations along the way, an after-ride refresh station back at base and excellent facilities at Redwood Lodge. Its reputation for bringing the weather is also worthy of note, but for different reasons. Maybe the date change will result in a nice, calm, sunny Mendip ride this year...
The event sold out in 2012 so get your entry in at www.bristolroadsportive.co.uk - there's a free goody bag for the first 300 entries, so don't delay. The ride costs £27, or £22 for the short route. That includes electronic chip timing, service stations on course and at the finish line, finishing present, parking, showers and a ride certificate. There's a £5 surcharge for on-the-day entries if any places are left.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.