133km / 82 miles - 16th April 2017
Location: Top Barn Activity Centre, Worcester
Taking place on Easter Sunday, The Easter Epic 82 mile route boasts 1627 meters of climbing and takes in several Cat 4 rated climbs, the route starts and ends at Top Barn Activity Centre in Worcester and heads South through the Malvern Hills and then heads North towards Bewdley and Stourport. This is the first time I did this sportive and had a feeling it was going to be tough! (I wasn't wrong!)
The earliest time to start was 9am, a little late for an eighty mile event in my opinion, I would rather have started at 8am. We first turned left out of Top Barn Activity Centre onto the A44 for the first 1.5 miles which to be fair was quiet at that time in the morning. We then took a right onto Hallow Lane and headed south towards the Malvern Hills.
We started the first of the cat 4 climbs at around 15 miles in, Birchwood Climb is just under a mile long and not too bad to get up, there were a few other climbs to conquer before we started ascending the Malverns via the B4128. Getting to the top of the Malverns is one long slog but ok as long as you pace yourself, we were rewarded along the way with stunning views of the countryside.
We arrived at the first feed station at mile 21 which was well placed as we had already done a fair share of hill climbing at that point. We also arrived just as the last tray of Rocky Road was presented - it tasted delicious! Apart from Rocky Road there were a box full of bananas and a tray of flapjacks on offer.The descent from the top of Malvern was long, the road surface wasnt great though and there was a couple of sharpish switchbacks so had to be handled with care.
After the Malverns the route became very rolling and flowing through Cradley and Bringsty. At mile 40 we then arrived at another major climb, Ankerdine Hill. This hill is 17% and just under a mile long in total, as I have had cramp on a similar hill (ref Shropshire Mynd Sportive) I soon decided to save energy and walked 2/3 of it. I rode the last 1/3 to the top at which we found a perfectly perched mobile coffee van - the caffine hit was just what was required.
At around mile 50 we then started riding up more long hills, it felt like it was going on forever and by the time we got to the very top the caffine hit had long worn off and we were feeling pretty tired, luckily the 2nd feed station at Heightington wasn't too far away, we had a much needed slice of chocolate cake and rested our weary legs for 10 minutes.
We rolled back into ride HQ at 4pm feeling knackered but victorious, we received a goodie bag which consisted of a bottle of water, a medal and a mini easter egg.
Rocky Road slice = 10/10
Challenging route with stunning views
Many, many hill climbs to test your stamina
£12 entry, dirt cheap!
Would have prefered an earlier start time
10/10 brill day out, challenging but rewarding with stunning views, drivers very patient too!
Cost: £25 (bargain!)