13 May 2018
Back by popular demand we are again running the Grand National Park2Park 200 km and Between the Parks 100 km Audaxes in May 2018.
The 200 course has been designed to acquaint riders with the scenic beauty of Britain’s two newest National Parks as well as visiting some of the exceptional scenery in the lovely country between the two Parks. There are manned controls at the Beech Café, East Meon, the Tea Cosy at Hurstbourne Tarrant and the highly acclaimed gazebo-on-the-green at Downton that was so popular last year. In addition, there are five information controls (where you have to answer a simple question to verify that you have actually visited that location). The ride starts at 0800 at the well-appointed Woodley Village Hall on the outskirts of Romsey where parking, toilets, free tea, coffee and biscuits will all be available and luggage can be left for the day. Highlights of the morning are crossing the famous Watercress Railway Line at Ropley (look out for steam trains!); views across the South Downs near East Meon; Whitchurch, with its beautiful Georgian silk mill; and the picturesque village of Hurstbourne Tarrant in the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty where lunch can be taken.
Immediately after lunch, we encounter the first chevron of the day on the climb out of the Bourne Valley before taking in a host of beautiful local villages on our way south west towards the New Forest National Park. Just before tea on the green at Downton, we will meet the challenge of Dean Hill, a popular venue for hill climbs among local cycling clubs. From tea, we follow New Forest lanes to Godshill. It is then a fine fast spin across the Forest to rejoin the Test Valley at Romsey, where you should look out for the wonderful Abbey, before finishing at Woodley Village Hall, where well-earned post-ride refreshment will be available. There is no charge for these, but donations to help defray the costs will be greatly appreciated.
With some 2400 metres of climbing, the route is not flat but neither is it outrageously hilly. There are just enough hills to make things interesting! For those planning to ride London-Edinburgh-London in the summer, the Grand National 200 will make a fine outing to keep up your fitness. If you have less lofty ambitions, or you are perhaps new to distance riding, it will make a good introduction to the unique camaraderie of Audax events. The weather in the south of England is often at its best in late May and the roads are still quiet, so why not plan to join us again in 2018? We will be pleased to see you.
To enter the Grand National Park2Park 200km Audax, click 200K entry .
If you prefer a gentler day out, but still with a degree of challenge, we are again running the Between the Parks 100 km using the same start, finish and lunch stop at the exceptional Tea Cosy Café in Hurstbourne Tarrant. The route takes us from Woodley near Romsey out to the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and back on a circular route via the rolling chalk hills bordering Hampshire’s famous Test Valley, passing through some of the prettiest villages in the South of England. You will see thatch aplenty at the likes of Sparsholt, Crawley (where even the ducks have their own thatched home in the middle of the village pond), Longparish, Monxton and Nether Wallop, which was the setting for Miss Marple’s “St Mary Mead” in the BBC’s highly acclaimed TV adaptations of the Agatha Christie detective tales starring Joan Hickson. The return to Romsey passes the hugely impressive Abbey, shortly before arriving back at Woodley for some well-earned refreshments.
To enter the Between the Parks 100km Audax, click 100K entry
- The closing date for entries is 1 May 2018.
- It is not as easy as you might think for the organiser to swap entries between the two events. The AUK website does not allow this: the 200 and 100 km are treated as totally separate events, and it is not possible to refund entry fees paid for one event and transfer them to another event.
- Last year, several riders wanted to start early. This upsets the opening times of the controls and complicates the job of the volunteer controllers, who then have to make special adjustments for early starters. So in fairness to them, there will be no early starts this year.
- If you are coming from a distance, you may wish to make a weekend of it. Some ideas for accommodation can be found here accommodation