You might struggle to find an event that can promise to kick-start your cycling season in such a fashion quite like the Wiggle Southern Rough Ride MTB sportive - a classic start-of-season off-road event that is based in the heart of the South Downs in Sussex and explores all of the best descents in the area.
Notably, these exciting drops are in Amberley, Arundel and Steyning on an undulating course that is rarely testing by offering any major climbs but adds up smaller inclines to make for a challenging day in the saddle all the same.
You'll start your off-road day on the bike in Amberley and head out straight onto the hills, taking in rural farm roads and scenic trails out towards Burpham. Avoiding the sharp gradient around Perry Hill, you'll skirt around this on fairer terrain as you follow trails that head east, with the main loop forming a large anti-clockwise adventure that heads as far south as Findon, n ear Worthing, before linking up with the South Downs Way.
Once you're past Findon, the Steyning Bowl and Round Hill make for a welcome section of up-and-down fast technical descents and testing climbs. The contour lines on the map get closer and closer thereafter, as some parts of the course around here are steep but very rewarding. As soon as these hillier parts are conquered, itâ€™s back onto the South Downs Way and out towards Amberley.
The last few miles point directly downhill for an easy, yet frantic, fast final push towards the finish line.
Amberley Working Museum
Houghton Bridge, Amberley, Arundel, West Sussex, BN18 9LT
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