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Sportive planner: Wiggle Jurassic Beast

12 Apr 2017

One of Dorset's top sportives, featuring cracking climbs, stunning landscapes, and splendid sea views

When: Saturday 6th May 2017
Where: Bovington
Distances: 99 miles (Epic), 63 miles (Standard) or 36 miles (Short)
Cost: £35 (epic, standard), £26 (short); under-16s free
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What’s it all about?

The Jurassic Coast stretches from East Devon through to Dorset over 95 miles (not all of which you’ll have to ride) and is steeped in history – the geology itself stretching back 185 million years.

Corfe Castle, which features on the route, was one of the first stone castles in Britain, built by William the Conqueror a mere thousand years or so ago.

The landscape is also known for its testing and sometimes steep hills, and while admiring the scenery you’ll be tackling many of them on the three routes on offer: the 99-mile (160km) Epic, 63-mile (102km) Standard and 36-mile (58km) Short option.

Dorset’s lanes are picturesque and mostly traffic-free and quiet, making it a great area to ride. To add to the interest of the ride and area, the HQ is a little different too, being based at the Bovington Tank Museum.

Certainly unusual, it makes for another point of interest for your day or weekend if basing yourself down here, with over 300 vehicles in the collection and working examples of rare military vehicles.

What about those routes?

Starting at the Tank Museum, all three routes head out north, with the Standard and Short rides cutting west soon after.

The Epic continues north, away from the coast and with the legs warmed up on a few rises, hits the first proper challenge 10 miles in after Milton Abbas.

From here you have a succession of climbs as you drop back south for the next 20 miles. Next comes a relatively mild stretch of around 15 miles, so take it easy and enjoy the views.

The good news is that by the time the climbing starts again with a vengeance, you are over halfway in, re-joining the Standard route. The not-so-good news is that the Standard route riders have their own series of unrelenting hills to tackle and now you do, too.

At least you are all in it together, right?

As you continue south, the vistas will change to stunning sea views as you hug the cliffs along the coast, the short route cutting back inland as the rest of the riders continue on past Corfe Castle to the seaside town of Swanage, your turning point to head for home.

With another sting or two in the tail, you head back inland towards flatter land only to turn back towards the coast – twice. Fear not, though, as the HQ is just a few short miles away now with the promise of reward once you have defeated the Beast.

What do I get?

The Wiggle Jurassic Beast is run by UK Cycling Events, who have one of the largest and most well-respected sportive portfolios in Britain, so you are assured to be looked after.

The list of support and extras is too long to go into in detail, but the usual requirements of parking, HQ facilities, chip timing, feed stops, full route marking and mechanical/ medical/broom wagon services are all present and correct.

Add the finish-line medal and gift, and you can consider it well supported.

How do I get there?

Bovington Tank Museum is 30 miles from Bournemouth and 50 miles from Southampton, both to the east, and 65 miles from Exeter to the west.

Trains from London and Birmingham run as far as Bournemouth, with coach and bus services to Bovington.

Being in the centre of the south coast tourism area, there are plenty of places to stay, with numerous B&Bs to suit all budgets in the area and larger hotels in Wareham and Dorchester, both towns only six miles away.

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