South Downs Way Off-Road Bike Ride
Saturday, 13 July 2019
Winchester to Eastbourne
Make 2019 the year you conquered the monster - the South Downs Way Off-Road Bike Ride. You'll be pushed to the limit of physical and mental endurance in this brutal ride, but the unrivalled sense personal of achievement upon crossing the finish line is one that will stay with you for the rest of your life, making every bead of sweat worthwhile.
Supported by a BHF team with years of experience of running mountain bike events, you'll ride through the ancient chalk & flint hills of the South Downs on terrain that isn't overly technical - allowing you to focus on the savage climbs, exhilarating descents and beautiful views out over some of the UK's most stunning countryside, not to mention the brilliant camaraderie shared with fellow riders
||On the day
Online registration will be closing at midnight on Sunday 7 July.
You need to be at least 18 years old to take part in this event, due to its challenging nature.
Your entry fee covers the cost of organising the event. It's the money you raise that powers our life saving research.
On the day entries will only be available if the event has not sold out - as there is no guarantee on this it is strongly recommended that anyone wishing to participate in this event signs up in advance.
For more information about the event, please refer to our FAQs document.
Your event entry includes
If you would like more information on any of our events, get in touch Monday - Friday 09:00 - 17:00:
Tel: 0300 330 3322
Email: [email protected]
Make your travel plans
Hampshire County Council Sports Ground,
To make your logistical arrangements easier, we have arranged an optional coach service to transport you and your bike from the finish, to the start, the day before the event. The service will depart Eastbourne at 3:30pm on Friday 12th July and will drop you at Holiday Inn Winchester.
Passengers must pre-book their ticket, and will not be available to purchase on the day.
Buy travel tickets
For more information, check out our Travel FAQs document.
There is no postcode for the venue therefore please follow the below directions. There is no long stay parking available at the start, but drop off is possible. If you need to park for the duration of the event we recommend parking at Chesil Street multi storey car park (SO23 0HU). The start line is about 1.5 miles from the car park and signposted.
Directions from the South: Leave M3 at junction 10, take the right hand lane of the slip road. At the traffic lights at the bottom of slip road follow signs A272/A31 Petersfield/Alton. Take the exit from the roundabout which takes you under the M3. At the next roundabout take the exit, still marked A272/A31 Petersfield/Alton and continue north, parallel with the M3. At next roundabout take the 2nd exit again still marked A272/A31 Petersfield/Alton and Alresford. In about 40 yards there are arrows in the centre of the road and a lane to provide a safe centre of road lane to turn right. Turn right here up a track to the top of the hill, the ground is at the top of this hill.
From the North: Leave the M3 at junction 9. Keep in the left hand lane on exit road. Follow the signs for A272/A31 Petersfield/Alton. At top of the exit road immediately take the first exit left and follow the road south parallel with motorway for 1 mile. At roundabout take first exit signed A272/A31 Petersfield/Alton and Alresford. In about 40 yards there are arrows in centre of road to provide a safe turn right lane. Turn right here up a track to the top of a hill where the ground is situated.
If you miss the turning and continue up the hill on the A272/A31 you will see signs for Chilcomb village in about ½ mile, you will then need to turn around, go back down the A272/A31 and turn left immediately after a large road sign. There will be BHF flags on the entrance to help you spot the correct turning.
If you have a support driver accompanying you throughout the ride, please ensure they are provided with our official checkpoints document. This will provide the information they need to travel around the event on the day.
King Edwards Parade,
Inexpensive pay and display on-street parking is available next to the Western Lawns, and in the Wish Tower Car Park. Free on-street parking can be found away from the seafront.
Completely planned, organised and managed by the British Heart Foundation, this event exists in order to raise funds for our life saving research. This year we are asking you all to try and raise at least £100.
Creating an online fundraising page is the easiest way to raise money. It takes a few minutes to set up and a link can then be easily shared with your friends and family on social media and by email. Remember, you're taking part in an amazing challenge - people will want to support you.
Create your online fundraising page
Get kitted up
We have a full range of kit in our online cycling shop. Whether you're after something to wear on your training rides, an accessory you need or a gift for a loved one - start browsing and find something for you today. And with all proceeds going towards our life saving heart research, it gives the term guilt free shopping a whole new meaning!
We strongly recommend bringing lights for this ride.
This is a difficult ride and it's therefore essential that you're sufficiently prepared for the day and our Off-Road Bike Ride preparation zone is here to help.
Here you'll find lots of information about training, nutrition and what to expect - so you can turn up on the big day fully trained, fuelled and with the right kit, equipment, bike and tyres.
Off-Road training zone
We'd also highly recommend the articles our friends at Bike Radar have put together on preparing for your first MTB event and the final checklist before the day.
What am I in for?
Get a feel of what to expect by checking out last year's South Downs Way Off-Road Bike Ride Facebook page and see for yourself what people thought of this unbelievable day out. To get an idea of what it looks like, check out the official event photographs.
If you're on Strava, make sure you join our club in order to communicate with fellow participants and share training distances, routes and times ahead of the big day.
Get your family and friends involved
Our events cannot happen without the help of our fantastic volunteers. If you would like to help out in the lead up to this event or on event day then please get in touch with us and we will send you more information.
||Event finish. All riders must have completed the ride by this time.
You will be set off in small waves. All participants will receive a safety briefing before starting the event.
In order to ensure your safety and support throughout the route, we have a series of cut-off times during the day. These are all available on the route map, but include 3pm at Washington (52.6 miles), 5:15pm at Jack & Jill’s Windmill, Checkpoint 6 (67.5 miles) and 9pm at the finish line. If you are unable to reach the designated point by the specified time we will discuss your options with you on the day, these may include offering you a lift to a point further along the route, if possible.
The South Downs Way is one of the UK's 13 long distance, ancient pathways. Travelling 100 miles (160km) through the centre of the South Downs National Park from Winchester in Hampshire to Eastbourne in East Sussex. You'll enjoy stunning scenery throughout, with panoramic views off the steep northern escarpment and endless views across the coast. And although the South East of the UK is densely populated, it never feels like it on this ride, with an amazing feeling of space and freedom. You really are on a wild and epic adventure that has justifiably become a rite of passage for many a serious mountain biker.
And if the scenery doesn’t take your breath away, the hills surely will! This route is well known for being a beast of a ride, and beating many a good rider with its numerous leg busting, lung burning hills, providing around 4,000 metres (over 12,000ft) of climbing. However with every big hill comes a big downhill - and you'll need to keep your wits about you and some energy in reserve after the climbs, as you’ll be wrestling the bike back down some wonderful fast and rough descents throughout.
This ride is about steely determination and pacing yourself, and when the trails are dry it is fast and efficient, but if it gets wet it becomes a totally different creature. Sticky mud and oh-so slippery chalk and flints to punish any mistakes, significant technical challenges are added to this already huge physical challenge. For 100 miles this flinty, chalky trail stretches on and on, slicing its way along the lush green hilltops, off into the distance, the sun tormentically reflecting off of it, highlighting the seemingly endless track into the distance. The hills only get harder as you near the end too, as if trying to desperately break you before you conquer it, but when the view over Eastbourne finally arrives, you know you’ve accomplished and defeated this epic challenge, and a final descent has never tasted so sweet. You can wear the SDW badge with pride.
Our route has been exclusively designed by Rough Ride Guide.
Please be aware at this year's event we will be sharing the South Downs Way National Trail with Trailwalker, a 100km walking event. Whether it be by foot or by bike, we want to ensure all participants have an enjoyable experience, and as a result have been working with Oxfam in order to ensure everyone's safety. Please assist us by ensuring you slow down when passing other users of the trail and pass on the right hand side (Trailwalk participants have been asked to keep left), and make use of the BHF bell you'll provided with at the start to alert other users to your presence.
Toilets will be available at the start, finish and water stops along the route.
Mobile cycle repair will be available along the route and will be stationed at water stops - please refer to the route map for more information.
You'll be fully supported by an experienced first aid team, event marshals and the route is fully signed. Support vehicles are also available to collect you and your bike from any checkpoint should you find you are unable to complete the challenge.
You will be able to purchase food at the following locations:
- Start Location - Breakfast foods – Porridge, snack bars, fruit, hot drinks
- Rest Stop 1 – QECP Café – Hot filled rolls, snack bars, drinks
- Rest Stop 3 – Whiteways Café – Hot and cold food, drinks
- Rest Stop 5 – Toasted food van – Toasties, Wraps and Paninis, drinks
- Rest Stop 7 – YHA Café (open until 4pm) - Hot and cold food, drinks
- Finish Location – The Butchers Grill - Gourmet Burger & chips, Pimms Bar serving a range of alcoholic & soft drinks.
Further details on the locations can be found on the route map.
At all rest stops there will also be complementary water and snacks, these will include flat coke, jelly sweets, salted snacks as well as Torq energy gels and bars.
For any last minute issues, there will be a mechanic based at the start line, who will do their best to ensure your trusty steed is ready for the challenge ahead. Should you encounter any problems whilst out on route, there will be further mechanics based at each of the rest stops. The service they provide is free, but any parts required are chargeable.
At the finish
When you arrive at the finish by the seafront in Eastbourne, we’ll be there to celebrate your success with music, food and drink and a free massage, provided by Athletes' Angels, to help ease those aching muscles. Your friends and family are very welcome to come and help us make some noise to greet you.
Make sure you have the right kit
If you're not sure what to wear on the day and what you need to bring with you, take a look at our recommended cycling kit list. You'll receive your participant number in the post just before the event.
As the ride is predominantly off-road, we recommend at least a CX (30+mm) tyre - the ride is not suitable for narrow wheeled bikes, slicks or on road tyres.
For further information about the event, please refer to our FAQs document.
We strongly recommend riders come with bike lights in case of bad weather and fading light during the later sections of the ride.