Come and ride if you think you're 'ard enough
Test your legs in the Burnham & Baddow Challenge

Punishing headwinds, bruising crosswinds and wide, slate grey skies, plus the occasional sketchy road surface. It might not quite be the Ardennes - but if you’ve ever fancied yourself as a Belgian-style hard man or woman, then the Burnham and Baddow Challenge on Sunday 5th February 2017 is a great way to test your mettle.

While other events sell themselves as having lots of hills, the Burnham and Baddow is a friendly, ’no frills’ group ride of 100kms (62 miles), designed to give experienced riders a challenging pre-season ride through the picturesque lanes of mid-Essex. However, the full course does offer some punchy gradients while the shorter (40km) route is flatter and more benign.

With bank balances having taken a pounding over Christmas and New Year, the organisers have been mindful of this and kept the entry fee down to a bargain £5 - a healthy proportion of which will be donated to local charities. Previous beneficiaries have included Essex Air Ambulance and Super Charlie, a local initiative to assist with travel costs to America for specialist cancer treatment needed by a local youngster.

Entry is on-the-day at East Hanningfield Village Hall, which doubles as the event HQ.

The Burnham and Baddow Challenge has origins that go back to the 1950s, when Southend and County Wheelers (as the club was then known) ran its annual ‘50 in three and a half’ - a 50-mile reliability trial - requiring participants to complete a course in 3.5 hours over much the same terrain as its modern counterpart.
At a time when it was principally a racing club, the event created an opportunity for time-trial and road racers to ride together with their non-competitive club-mates before their respective racing seasons got underway. Naturally, it was also a chance for individuals to see just how their winter training programme had paid off in comparison to their club mates and sporting rivals.

The Burnham and Baddow Challenge is arguably one of the country’s original sportives, with a long heritage that affords it genuine ‘classic’ status in British cycling.
For further information contact Mike O’Kill by email at / 07788 566 220

The event HQ is East Hanningfield Village Hall, marshalls will direct you to appropriate car parking facilities. Hall open at 08:00, first riders are away at 08:30. Refreshments will be available before and after the ride. The village hall closes at 14:00. Click here for further information. Google Map of the route, GPX file

Wrap up warm for a winter reliability ride
Local elite rider Simon Alexander
It is always beneficial to stretch before exercise


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