Celebrating its 13th year in 2019, The MagnifiCat sportive has gained the reputation of a prestigious event with a fierce pedigree and formidable challenge. Forging the rolling Hampshire countryside and classic climbs on the South Downs as one, this event is one of a carefully picked few that many cyclists aim to tick off the 'to do' list.
The longest route of the MagnifiCat - one of our oldest events - spans 126 miles and will drag you over more than 6,500ft (2,000m) of hill climbing action. Based on the UCI European Golden Bike Events model, the route is a simple anti-clockwise loop that begins in Newbury.
There's enough climbing action in this ride to keep your legs turning over - and the most challenging of them all can be despatched first of all as the long stretch from Combe to Ibthorpe is up first. Once this is over with, you'll plunge back down to the level from which you've just climbed, before another steep test for the legs just after the 20-mile marker.
The terrain tends to settle after this for a while, albeit with consistent rolling roads, but there are more great climbs to come. In fact, there are nine major climbs in all on this route.
Moving around the western outskirts of Andover, you'll pass over the top of Winchester and head south, stretching out the loop until it's time to head north and back towards the Basingstoke and Deane district. Don't be deceived by the lack of climbs on this part of the route - there's enough here to make for a fast and technical sportive, well worth ticking off the list.