The Island Games Course

I went out and rode a few laps of the XC course that has been made for the Island Games yesterday. With a Force6 headwind all the way out to Cheverton Farm I was pretty worn out already when I got there, but the course itself is certainly one that is going to leave no prisoners.

It starts at Cheverton Farm, on the Gatcombe road. From the start there is what I am sure will be a pack sprint for about 400meters until you turn up into some woods, here is where the fun begins. The woods are set on the side of Brighstone Down, and the course snakes its way up through the trees and then hairpin turns all the way down. Especially after yesterday and Wednesday's continuous rain, the ground was super greasy and on every turn and climb you had to work hard to stop the back-end drifting out; if it's like that during the race there are definitely going to be a few bike-engages-tree moments for those that don't know where the course goes exactly - could make for some exciting viewing for the spectators!

Crossing over into another set of woods the course then passes by the Cheverton Aggregates quarry before really ramping up as it heads up on to Brightone Down - the lung burning climb takes you through some fields and then onto some single track, and certainly promises to spread the riders out as they strain up the incline.
Once on top of the downs there is a loop down the southern side, promising another difficult climb as you head back up to the top. Another fast descent through the fields on the quarry side and another ascent back up, will leave all legs definitely weary. Luckily this then only leaves the fast downhill to the finish.This is a super-fast track that runs parallel to the Gatcombe road and sends us racing back into the arena at Cheverton Farm.

It's going to be an exciting course and potentially carnage at times. Either way it will be tough and certainly worth coming to watch if you get the chance.

Please note there is no public access to this course prior to the event, don't try and check it out yourself - The farmer will get angry! - I was only allowed a once round under special permission (and had to talk nicely to the sheep so that I didn't scare them).


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