An early-season sportive test lays in wait in the Cycling Weekly Wildcat, which criss-crosses the Medieval drovers’ trails the area is famous for, passes through numerous Saxon villages and offers magnificent views across the Dorset Downs, all in a day’s riding.
Starting out from Salisbury Racecourse, the beginning of the ride is easy going, albeit following roads that are lined along a slight uphill rise, before you face the toughest climb of the day early on. As you flit around the outskirts of Charlton, the climb through Donhead Hollow is always tricky as it’s steep and drawn out, but get this over with and you’re climb-free for a while yet.
The ensuing sections of the Cycling Weekly Wildcat can be described as free-flowing, as the action takes place on rolling roads that won’t trouble your legs, with the occasional small peak to tackle here and there. Epic riders split a few miles prior to Bedchester and head out on a loop towards Stour Provost, West Orchard and Hammon before re-joining the Standard route shortly after Iwerne Minster.
Another climb awaits just before the routes merge, which again is steep but can be despatched quickly – and as just reward, the following roads are smooth and easy as only one more minor climb separates you and the finish line. For now it’s just a case of ticking off the miles as you enjoy the quiet countryside back roads that link the sleepy rural villages together.
As you approach the end of the ride, one last small hill challenge will test tired legs in the hilly section leading up to Coombe Bissett, but the sloping roads should be easy to deal with as you power your way back to race base for a well-deserved finisher’s medal.