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Invicta Phoenix 400km Audax

Phoenix 400k

Saturday 11 May 2019 @ 9am

The organisers of the Oasts and Coasts 300km are pleased to introduce The Invicta Phoenix 400km Paris Brest Paris qualifying ride out and back across The Weald and up The Downs to the finish. The ride refers to our experiences of former West Kent CTC Invicta series events.

This event is not a race. It is open to anybody that would like to experience over 250 miles of riding within a 27 hour time limit. A routesheet, GPX file and a brevet card are provided and you are expected to be self sufficient during the event. There is no broom-wagon or recovery service. Your task is to follow the route and stop at the set control points where you will either gather proof of passage or have your brevet card stamped. The route does not take the shortest distance between controls for safety reasons so the actual ride length is 425km.

GPS files for these events are here >>


The Start

The start is set at 9am allowing time for travel to the Gravesend, Kent that morning by rail, car or bike. There is also a Travelodge and a Best Western hotel close by. The start point is the Gravesend Cyclopark

Gravesend Cyclopark

Cyclopark is located next to the A2 to the south of Gravesend, Kent. Take the A227 junction, (Gravesend Central) and follow the signs for Cyclopark. Sav Nav: DA11 7NP. Nearest train stations are Gravesend, Meopham, Northfleet and Ebbsfleet International. Cyclopark has a large car park. Parking costs £3.60 per day. There is a cafe and toilets at the start. Collect your brevet card and be ready for a 9am depart.

Gravesend Cyclopark Parking

Stage 1: Cyclopark to Edenbridge 40km

After 2km of cycle path the route takes you onto roads and into rural Kent. Pass through Betsham before entering the Darenth Valley, home of the pretty villages of Horton Kirby, Eynsford and Shoreham.

Darenth Valley near Shoreham, Kent

The North Downs sits between the end of the valley and Ide Hill. A gentle 3km climb using a quiet back lane gets you there where you will be rewarded with great views of Bough Beech reservoir and a descent into Four Elms, reaching Edenbridge 3km later.

Bough Beech Reservoir from Ide Hill

Edenbridge has a selection of cafes, supermarkets and cash machines for you to collect a receipt to show your time of arrival.


Stage 2: Edenbridge to Rudgwick 52km

Leave Edenbridge on the Lingfield road through Haxted. This part of the route keeps south of the Surrey Hills, but north of Gatwick Airport. The roads can be busy in this area so we have made good use of the Surrey Cycleway which is conveniently marked with brown signs.

There is a 300m section of bridleway which will be fine of all road bikes. This image was taken in November. The surface was good.

Bridleway

Cycle specific paths are used to cross the A217 and A24 dual carriageways.

Some more gentle rolling roads and pretty lanes bring you to the second control.

Weare Street

The Milk Churn

The Milk Churn is a coffee shop with a cheesy twist. Service has been fast and food and drink very good here. This cafe is widely used by cyclists. We have discussed a limited menu of filled rolls, vegan soup and of course their legendary cheese-on-toast. There is seating inside and out, bike parking and toilets. A controller will be here to stamp your brevet card.


Cheese on toast

Stage 3: Rudgwick to Winchester 73km

This section takes a laney route through the villages of Loxwood, Ifold, Plaistow, Shillinglee with an abundance of Grade II listed buildings enroute to Haslemere. From here it's a bit busier until get the other side of Liphook where it returns to quiet country lanes through Newton Valence and East Tisted, an area of outstanding natural beauty. There is a short section of A31 before a pretty and quiet section through the park at Avington.

Avington Park

Winchester City Sign

Leaving Easton village the road ends for vehicles, but allows bikes to continue into an underpass system which leads to the third control, a Tesco Extra supermarket. The supermarket also has a Costa and toilets.



Stage 4: Winchester to Petersfield 31km

If there has been a south-westerly wind this is where you get its help. Winchester is the furthest point west on the route. The exit from Winchester uses another cycle route to avoid any city gridlock. After a climb out of Winchester passing Cheesefont Head, a large natural amphitheatre, the route goes across the downs and enters the Meon valley.

View from Cheesefoot Head
Signpost

Pass through West and on to East Meon with it's impressive church built 1075-1150.

East Meon Church

The fourth control at Petersfield is a service station with a Wild Bean cafe adjacent to a McDonalds. This marks the half way point of the ride.


Stage 5: Petersfield to Lewes 89km

Sunset is at 9:16pm so most riders will be riding in the dark for the next two sections. Please ensure you have good lights and reflective clothing.

This section is laney and picturesque to Storrington.

Burton Mill Pond
Woods at Greatham

After Storrington there is a 3km stretch of single lane A283 followed by a further 9km after Washington before exiting at Steyning. This is the only viable road for this part of the route. It was tolerable during our Friday afternoon test ride. Saturday evening should have lighter traffic.

The South Downs Way
Having looked at the map this looked like an adventurous alternative to the A283 from Washington to Steyning. We rode it so that you don't have to! It's not what you want to find after 240km - so we left it out.

South Downs Way
South Downs Way
South Downs Way

Best forget about the SDW then..


Fulking - with John Ruskin spring

After Steyning, pass through Bramber, Edburton, Fulking with John Ruskin spring and Poynings with Devil's Dyke to your right on the way to Pyecombe. The CR20 takes you over the busy A23 and uses the surprisingly steep cycle route section of Church Hill to take you via Clayton Hill to the quiet lanes leading to the foot of Ditchling Beacon. Save the Beacon climb for another time as you continue to Westmeston and Plumpton before the descent into Lewes.

The control at Lewes is a Tesco Extra closing at midnight. Please collect a receipt to show your time of arrival. If you prefer to control elsewhere in Lewes that is fine too. There's a 24h BP services on the route out of Lewes with a Wild Bean. Total distance is now 285km.


Stage 6: Lewes to Rye 61km

As you would expect from the descent into Lewes, there's a climb out, but after a km on the road, there is 2.2km of good cycle path.

Cyclepath to Ringmer
Bus Shelter

Rejoining the road at Ringmer, this night section is easy to navigate, with generally good surfaces on rolling A and B roads. After a short section on the A22, the route passes through Horsebridge, Magham Down, Herstmonceux, Windmill Hill (yes there is one), Boreham Street, Ninfield and Catfield. There are a few places to shelter along this section.

From Battle our 300km riders will recognise the route through Seddlescombe, the newly resurfaced Brede Lane and onto Broad Oak and Udimore to Rye.

Pottery Lane

The control at Rye is the Scout Hall where there will be hot food and a space to rest. The hall is tucked way on the left hand side of the Leisure Centre car park

Rye Scout Hall

Total distance at this point is 346km. A controller will be at Rye to stamp your brevet card. A sensible strategy could be to wait until dawn before leaving to complete the final stage which is 80km and has to be completed before noon on Sunday. Sunrise is at 5:24am. Please enquire with the organisers if you would like a drop bag for Rye. That might include spare clothes and a sleeping bag and mat.


Stage 7: Rye to Cyclopark 80km

There's a theme on the last two sections: leave CONTROL and climb. Pass through the Domesday villages of Playden and Iden and soon you are back in Kent.

Pottery Lane

The return leg passes through Tenterden and Frittenden onto a flat section via Staplehurst, Marden and Yalding.

Yalding bridge

Drop down to Wateringbury and then climb Red Hill dropping again to West Malling where there are optional 24 hour services. The climbs of Birling and Whitehill Road deliver you to Meopham which is just 5km from the finish.

Birling Hill

Before 9am the arrivee is at the 24 hour Shell Tollgate Services where there is a Subway outlet. Please obtain a receipt here to show your time of arrival.

Shell garage for early finishers

Brevet cards can be stamped from 9am at the Cyclopark or posted to the organiser. Drop bags can be collected from 9am-noon at the Cyclopark. The control closes at noon on Sunday.

Gravesend Cyclopark Entrance

GPS files for these events are here >>

Entry at the AUK web site. Easy entry using Paypal (which means Debit/Credit cards online as well) and is great value at £10 (or £13 if you are not an AUK member).



This event is a BRM (Brevet de Randonneurs Mondiaux) PBP (Paris Brest Paris) 2019 qualifier.

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