Somerset Hills Gran Fondo reconnaissance

Rider approaching the 16% bit
This Sunday 5th May sees the Somerset Hills Gran Fondo which takes riders over successively tougher climbs.  

The first is the gentle but spectacular Cheddar Gorge which starts immediately after the Gorge gift shops and winds its way up at 8% gradient with just one brief moment at 16% and then a very long 3% final bit that goes on and on.

On Tuesday 30th April there were still really rough road works just before the climb - here's hoping it's been sorted for Sunday.

"Raised ironworks" before the climb - still there on Sunday?
Next you’ll head over to Enmore village and climb up onto the Quantocks.  The hill starts just after the village with a long straight at 8% followed by another at 11% which seems to end with a steeper bit but actually flattens out first 8% then 7 then 5 then 3% on and on.  After several km of flat/downwards there is a final 11% bit before you are fully on top.  Long and tricky descent.

Enmore 11%
At 70km you’ll encounter the climb up on to Exmoor near Elworthy.  This one is harder – there are a couple of false starts but then the real climb opens just after a cross roads and looks daunting – you can see the very top of the road way up in the distance.   First bit is 18% for may be 500m and then you get two long straight 12%s but that is all.

Elworthy climb on to Exmoor
On the return leg the last real challenge (make that nightmare) is Crowcombe climb back over the Quantocks.  This one is a brute starting with 12% you come out of a wooded glade, spot the 1 in 4 sign and then head up at pretty much 20%+ all the way – no let up.  The top is at the cattle grid.

Both Gran (192km) and Medio (134km) Fondos do the same climbs. Over all riders are in for a treat with progressively harder climbs until you get to the finale at Crowcomb.

More route details on the Somerset Hills GF website.