Andrew Burgess took part in the recent Mills Hills CX Sportive, here is his event report:
As the inaugural Mills Hills CX Sportive approached I was in two minds about doing it following so soon after the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Cyclocross and Relentless 24. The combination of both events had left my legs feeling trashed and it would have been so easy to have given it a miss. However a combination of a great weather forecast (cold but dry) and my unwillingness to give up even a modest entry fee (great value at £15) made me stop feeling sorry for myself and man up.
And I was really glad I did. What a great day.
The course itself was a great combination of all the bits that make cyclocross such fun. Rocky stuff, muddy stuff, steep stuff, some carrying, some unrideable climbs including two vicious cobblestone ones (near Hebden Bridge) and some challenging descents. The sportive format was also a refreshing change with riders happy to ride together, sharing the gate opening workload. I managed to just about hang on to a group containing a number of local people I know and we had some great banter. I was grateful on more than one occasion though when they waited as I grovelled up the steeper stuff.
The final numbers were around 34 miles (my Garmin somehow switched itself off for 30 mins), 5200 feet of climbing and I managed to get round in 4 hours and 26 minutes. Would have been 10 minutes quicker if I could have dragged myself away from the free cake and biscuit stop halfway round!
Overall a really impressive event, particularly for a first attempt. Terrific course, impressive organisation, great atmosphere, well priced and a free pie with gravy and peas at the end. What more could you want?
Next year the event is on Sunday 13th October. I will certainly be there.
All photos courtesy of Dave Haygarth.