The Gold Rush is an intense ride, featuring 75, 55 & 38km routes, criss-crossing the lanes and droves of the Chalke Valley en route to Shaftesbury’s iconic Gold Hill, then bringing you back to the start on a series of long, fast CX perfect drove roads. The ride offers full and comprehensive route marking, feed and support stations and electronic rider timing, and there will be hot and cold food, drinks and snacks, plus free energy products.
This is perfect CX country – in fact it could have been created for the event. The course area is a natural amphitheatre for your riding pleasure. The tiny river Ebble traces the floor of the valley that forms the backbone of a course which winds you constantly up and downs to the north and south. The ancient drove roads atop each of these downs, along with the narrow valley road, form the main arteries of the route, while the lanes, tracks and trails between the three weave in the detail; testing climbs that top out at 20%, descents that will send your stupid grin count off the scale, and a procession of picture box villages, scenery and views to lift your soul!
Highlight of the route is the climb of Gold Hill (the iconic setting for the classic Hovis advert); a 1 in 4 gradient on (occasionally) grippy cobbles that will test your heart, legs and grimacing skills! It’s a true classic of a climb that should be on your bucket list, and you’ll get a special award if you can ride the whole thing clean!
Other course highlights include Zig-Zag Hill (in both directions), which boasts the most hairpins of any hill in Britain; gradients of up to 20% dropping into (and climbing out of!) the steep, Chalke Valley, and of course those long, straight, gently descending drove roads to the finish (some of the best gravel riding tracks around!)