Sport section:Layout 1
Lions and cheetahs take to the hills
WITH a backdrop of stunning scenery and challenging climbs, Mendip attracted a number of late season events. The Cotswold CYCLING Cycling League held with EDMUND their penultimate LODITE road race of the season “A Bridge Too Far” near Priddy. For the league riders there was a lot to be gained from a good finish in deciding overall positions for the year. But the added presence of nonCotswold league teams including Somerton based Team Tor 2000 threw in an extra dimension and created a
PAGE 114 • MENDIP TIMES • NOVEMBER 2017
race within a race. Although there were no bridges to cross, the 100km rolling course on top of the Mendips took eight laps of the popular Rifleman’s circuit, which proved to be one lap too many for a few of the riders! Despite crosswinds to contend with, the undulating course suited the sprinters – and in the end it came down to a bunch sprint with Joshua Croxton from Team Tor 2000 finishing first (although his early celebration approaching the line nearly cost him victory!) He said: “I'm always happy to sprint! I was unsure whose wheel to follow, but it all fell into place nicely – even if I did need to cancel the early celebration to Mendip wiggle
“Bridge Too Far” finish
finish the job!" Separately, two of the leading cycle retailers in the UK organised their own non-competitive sportives in Mendip. Both Wiggle and Evans Cycles promote their brands in the best locations across the country and they don’t get much better than Mendip. With plenty of hills to choose from, Burrington Combe always gets featured but it’s the iconic Cheddar Gorge that is the main attraction. It may not be the hardest in Mendip but is certainly the one most photographed and dramatic. After the short steep section in the lower half the gradient eases and then there’s plenty of time to recover and admire the scenery. The Wiggle sportive also included the much tougher climb of Ebbor Gorge, near Wells. Just as you think you’re doing well you hit a 20% gradient and it starts to hurt. Arriving breathless near the car park you’re rewarded with a stunning view back towards Glastonbury Tor, before heading back across the Mendips. Both sportives include many miles of quiet lanes and quaint villages, but it’s the climbs that are memorable and which continue to attract cyclists from across the country. There is a strange irony about cycling in that the best cycling routes involve hills. For those that like climbing – the harder the better. But then there are the sprinters where speed is the need – it all comes down to lions and cheetahs – and very few cyclists are both.
Celebrating life on the Mendips and surrounding areas