A Spring Classic - The New Forest 200

It's 5:03am: I'm rolling out. The weather man wasn't kidding when he said it would be raining. It's hammering it down. Lights on, stomach full of porridge and coffee; it is time for a Spring Classic.

The plan is simple. Ride to the Yarmouth ferry, and cross to Lymington; then ride up to the start of the Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive near Lyndhurst; ride the route; then, ride home. 200 miles. Simple.

The first 30 kilometre leg is wet; as the weather man had warned it would be. I arrive at Yarmouth with sodden shorts and dripping gloves. Thank goodness for Castelli Nanoflex warmers and Gore Windstopper technology; at least most of my body is still warm and functioning. On the ferry I dry my gloves with the hand dryer in the toilets; then pull out the route map, and plan the next 295 kilometres left to ride.

Rolling northwards through the forest, the clouds begin to clear. The sun is coming up, and I'm beginning to get a bit of feeling in my hands and feet again; as I get the legs moving, and the blood pumping.

The start of the sportive is a hustle of activity, on an otherwise quiet forest morning. 2000 riders taking to the roads, to experience the best of the National Park. I sign on, meet up with my riding buddy Rich, and we head out onto the course.

The 84 mile route takes us through all manner of forest back-drops; from the exposed shores of Lepe spit, to the bracken covered heathland. The roads are filled with riders, and it is a great thing to see. Despite the ominous black clouds and strong winds, there seem to be plenty of smiles and happy faces. All too soon, Rich and I are back at the start/finish; with 260 kilometres reading on my Garmin.

I don't normally take a finisher's t-shirt, but today I decide the added layer of insulation might be useful; so I pull one on as an extra base layer. Then, bidding farewell to Rich, I head back off into the forest. The skies are clearing, but the wind is building.

There's only one ferry an hour, and there's no point in waiting around at the terminal, so I take a deliberately 'wiggly' route to get back to Lymington. Arriving at the 4 o'clock boat, I'm grateful for a hot coffee and a flapjack; I need to reignite some increasingly tired legs.

Once back on the island, I have 60 kilometres left to clock-up on home-turf, to reach the 325 kilometre (200 mile) mark. I head out west towards The Needles, before turning the corner and welcoming a strong westerly wind on my back. Tailwind home.

It's 19:00 when I finally unclip. 11 hours and 19 minutes of riding on the clock. My bike, shins and overshoes are caked in road grime, forest debris and brake dust. My legs feel like they need to sit down for a month. Double century day. A true Spring Classic.


Photo Essay




There were over 2000 riders on the road at the Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive





A photo posted by Tim Wiggins (@tim_wiggins1) on

19:00 Arriving Home





The first big outing for the new Eastaway Emitter R0. She performed well.


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