There are only some many times you can go up your local hills before it gets a bit boring and you start craving something new. A sportive slightly further afield is a good way to experience some new scenery and some new hills.
I first came across Little Lumpy Sportive in the spring of 2022. Nice route, supporting good causes, plus home-baked cakes – what not to like! Starting in Haslemere their 100-mile route takes you across the prettiest parts of Sussex and Hampshire Weald to the South Downs at South Harting. There are also 40 and 60 mile routes to choose from.
Don’t be fooled by the name, I’d say it’s a bit more than “little” lumpy! With 2570m (8434ft) of climbing over 16 hills (according to my Garmin), there are very few stretches of flat road. OK, maybe it’s not Fred Whitton level of grades and elevation, but it’s not an easy ride! And somehow, again, according to my Garmin, I used more calories on this 160km ride than on Fred Whitton 180km I had done just a few weeks before🤷♂️.
My first attempt on 15 May 2022 was an epic failure of weather forecasting. What was predicted as a nice partially cloudy day with possibly some light rain at the very beginning, turned into 6 hours of non-stop pouring rain, stormy wind, and unexpectedly low temperatures.
This was one of those rides that you start enjoying only after a few days. Roads more reminiscent of rivers, wishing for every climb to carry on just a bit longer so you can warm up, fighting early stages of hypothermia on every descent, begging for yet another puncture to seal so you don’t have to stop… I have to say, I was still on the fence regarding tubeless or road bikes, but it was a total lifesaver on this ride. Seeing all those people at the sides of the road shaking in the cold and begging for spare tubes made me really appreciate tubeless. Anyway, after giving away all my spare tubes and finishing the ride I promised myself to… do it again… but only in good weather.
So come May 2023 I started checking weather forecasts again. OK, I don’t trust them, but what options do we have… On the last day for pre-registration, after triple checking all 200 of my weather apps (I exaggerate, but only slightly), I booked my place again!
Thankfully, this time the forecast was spot on! 18C and sunny, with some clouds showing up in the second part of the day. Quite windy, but with the vast majority of the roads going either up or down, it wasn’t really noticeable.
This was an awesome ride throughout. Well organised, with lots of hills, lots of quick descends, and amazing cakes. Talking about cakes, if you cycle to lose weight, be warned - with 5 (yes, 5!!!) feed stops, all stuffed with delicious home-baked cakes, you may consume way more calories than on any other Century ride you did before. As for myself, I only stopped at 3 feed stops. Regardless of how good, there are only so many cakes one can consume on a bike ride! 😋
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