Set in the heart of West Sussex, our first event MTB course is a scenic and challenging 30KM loop that takes you from Westhampnett Lake past Goodwood Motor Circuit, across the West Dean Estate and up and over KIngley Vale (twice).
With three main ascents and an overall ascent of 494m, this course will test the legs of even the fittest of cyclists.
Leaving the bike transition zone, the first section of the bike course is set on road taking you quickly past the Goodwood Motor Circuit and across to Lavant. From Lavant you will swing left taking your first bridleway and your 1st ascent of the ride. A great leg warmer, this ascent is a steady climb taking you from 36m to just over 150m and stunning views out towards the coast with Worthing visible to the East and the Isle of Wight to the West.
Following the 1st ascent, you are rewarded with a fast descent dropping down towards West Dean, initially through woodland, which then opens up to a chalk and grassland track. Watch your speed here, the next bridleway you need to take is a very sharp left hand turn and a turn that cannot be made at speed.
This next bridleway is level and takes you across two fields currently with sheep in so please remember to shut the gates. Your next sign takes you right dropping down through meadow land, you will double back along this bridleway so be aware of other participants and watch your speed especially when crossing the foot bridge.
Following a very short climb you will reach your first marshalled T-junction and the A286, here you will turn right but be aware of oncoming traffic, as this is a fast road. Travelling along the A286 for no longer than 100yards you will then turn left and climb Binderton Lane. At the top of Binderton lane you will be greeted by a lovely view over towards Kingley Vale and your 1st feed station where you can feast on a variety of delicious and energy boosting delicacies.
Fully recharged, the next signed bridleway takes you across farmland before a short and deceiving descent. It’s by no means fast but as the track is covered by grass you can easily get caught in and rut and thrown off so watch your speed and watch out for partridges that seem to enjoy dive-bombing out the hedgerow straight at your front wheel.
At the bottom of this bridleway you abruptly reach another T-junction and marshalled zone as you cross and follow for a few hundred yards the B2141 (a very fast road so please go careful when crossing). Your next signed turn takes you left and up a bridleway that leads you easily at first through fields and to the foot of the 2nd ascent and certainly the trickiest and hardest climb of the ride. Wild Cat Alley as we have named it (as we spotted a wild cat on it) is nothing short of a nightmare.
The bridleway starts quite over grown taking you through grass and then becomes a single dirt track no more than a few feet wide in places with a steep gradient and tree roots to contend with. Many will manage this section; if they can navigate the tree roots and deal with the pain then they’ll make it to the top. For others, you may need to hop off and walk your bike up. If you do fall in to the walk category (of which there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of as it’s flipping hard) then please look out for other participants heading up. You are unlikely to miss them as you’ll hear them panting and swearing from quite a way off. So if walking up this section please step off the bridleway to allow the ones ‘in the saddle’ to sweat it out.
At the top of this section and following an ascent of 81m you will be faced with your next sign and a small cross roads, take the sign and head up through the yew tree woodland to the next clearing and cross roads. Again, head straight across following the sign and you will then start your descent through the woodland. This descent is quite fast and ends in a clearing again with a crossroads. Take the sign and head straight across where you will commence a fast descent down the back of Kingley Vale through farmland. Again, watch your speed here, it’s very quick and ruts are hidden and with fencing on both sides it’s not a good option to bale out here.
At the base of the descent you will see your next sign which swings you right on a bridleway then left where you drop down a relatively overgrown bridleway which ends in the village of Stoughton. Making your way through Stoughton, try not to be distracted by the excellent pub (Hare and Hounds) and head on where you will then take your next sign on the left and the famous bridleway known to many local MTB riders as Heart Attack Hill.
This is your 3rd and final ascent and the biggest taking you to the highest altitude of the ride at 184m. This climb is deceptive, initially it seems straightforward and you begin to question what all the fuss is about. However, this thought shortly vanishes as you realise the intensity of this climb. Put simply, it’s a climb that goes on and on. The main difference of this ascent however, is the size of the bridleway, it’s nice and wide, lots of space with cracking views if you just want to hop off and soak up the views.
At the top of Heart Attack Hill you will take the signs that lead you to your descent of the Vale. Initially through woodland the bridleway soon opens up and you join a gravel track that descends rapidly. PLEASE be warned, this section is super fast and whilst it’s tempting to just ditch the brakes and go for it you will be faced with oncoming walkers, horses and other cyclists so be aware.
The descent ends again quite abruptly with a T-junction and your sign will take you left where an easy section of bridleway takes you all the way back to the B2141 (a marshalled zone) and again the same fast road you have already crossed so be aware of traffic from both directions. Your next sign from the B2141 takes you on a short road ascent where you pass the feed station again so feel free to stop off and tuck in again. Dropping down Biderton Lane you now double back on the same section of bridleway you travelled up earlier in the course so watch out for oncoming participants.
Once back at the sheep meadow you’ll take the sign and head right across the field to a gate (please shut as livestock always in this field). The next section of the course is easy and gentle rolling bridleway that leads all the way back to Lavant. At the end of the bridleway you will take the sign left and then left again through Lavant. As it will be a Sunday, it’s likely there will be many parked cars as people attend the church in Lavant so please pass with care. Turning right and back along the same road you headed in to Lavant on you will follow the road until the next sign taking you right and on to your final bridleway. This sweeping bridleway follows the perimeter track of the Goodwood Motor Circuit looping you around to the final quick road section taking you back to the finishing straight and bike / run transition point.