Fancy fearsome climbing in early 2008? Join the Rapha Condor Recycling.co.uk team to ride the 100K 2008 Hell of the Ashdown Sportive, with more than 2,000 metres of climbing planned January 27.
In addition to a series of the most daunting hills that the Catford CC have managed to find south of London, organizers have thrown in a climb commonly know as 'The Wall', considered so hard that the Tour de France gave it a miss when the stage crossed Ashdown Forest in 1994.
Although it has been included in other road races, most recently in the last stage of the 2007 Revolution 5 Day, this featured 'Killer Climb' takes the riders up the steepest gradient from Coleman's Hatch up Kidds Hill to Gills Lap then on to the ultimate heights of Ashdown Forest's wild moorland at Kingstanding.
The Ashdown has a formidable reputation: officials cut it out of the 2007 Junior Tour of Sussex because of the "treacherous conditions in the Ashdown Forest area due to heavy rain it was decided it was too dangerous to risk sending the riders over the proposed course".
According to organizers, the new way-marked course starts at Knockholt Pound and winds its way through Kent, Surrey and Sussex on quiet country lanes. There is only one set of traffic lights on the whole 65-mile route.
The major long climbs that the riders tackle are: Toys Hill - Hollow Lane (Dormansland) - Kidds Hill (THE WALL) - 'Col de Groombridge' - Ide Hill - Star Hill (the sting in the tail).
Those who find this a bit daunting will no doubt choose to ride the 50K Devil's de Tour Challenge which covers 30 miles of the route but cuts out the most southerly climbs although it still tackles the Toys, Ide and Star hills.
Register in advance on www.catfordcc.co.uk and get a guaranteed ride with a free invitation to the pre-ride Party in 'Bromleys' function room at Bromley, Kent on the previous evening.
© BikeRadar 2008