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If you need easing back into the cycling season with a testing sportive that isn’t too demanding, the Ordnance Survey Cobbler Classic could be for you. Taking its name from the shoe-making history of its Northamptonshire surroundings, the route will take you through some of the county’s best sights and cycling roads.
There are no major climbs on the course, leaving you to set your own stride on an undulating route that never levels out but in fact helps with the odd short downhill push every now and again. As you set off from just outside Brackley, you’ll pass through the sleepy villages of Shalstone and Chackmore, with quiet country lanes connecting them, before going over the top of Silverstone – the historic race track on your left on the way through.
Pushing on, you’ll dip into Towcester before it’s out into the open once more and after a stretch on a long and straight country lane, it’s time for the first feed stop of the day just outside Farthingstone. One or two short and sharp climbs may crop up around this part of the course, but climbs tend to be rolling, brief and joined up, making this an ideal all-weather event – ideal for the early season elements.
As you weave through rural roads that lead to villages such as Charwelton, Byfield and Culworth on the way back to the ride HQ, you can afford to empty the tank near the end as the gradient will stay the same throughout. After reaching Biddleston, you’re nearly there, and ready to claim a well-deserved finisher’s medal and PowerBar recovery product once over the line.