Cheshire Cat Sportive 2023

The Cheshire Cat Sportive is an iconic cycling event in Cheshire, not least because of the infamous Mow Cop killer mile climb but because it’s simply one of the best Sportives in the North-West

Name: Cheshire Cat Sportive Organiser: Velo29 Events
Location: Crewe, Cheshire Event Website: link to website
Date: 26th March 2023 Price: £27.50, £32.50, £37.50
Event: Sportive Start Times: 7:30am to 8:30am
Distance: 51m, 78m, 104m Feed Stations: Yes
Climbing: 1,600ft, 4,500ft, 5,800ft Ride Profile: Rural. Challenging.
GPS Route: link to short route, medium route, long route Map: link to route maps

Cheshire’s Premier Sportive

The Cheshire Cat sportive is one of several to include the infamous Mow Cop killer mile. It was the first really challenging sportive I did and as such, I have a soft spot for it. It’s also featured in my list of Cheshire Sportives, so if you fancy a few cycling related challenges this year, take a look at that page too.

For those that haven’t heard of Mow Cop, it’s a rather steep section of road that presents itself towards the end of a one-mile climb and quite rudely adds a 28% gradient at the very point you least want it. So, now you know why it’s called the Killer Mile. Don’t be put off by this and should you prefer to push, you will be in good company as many cyclists do just that.

Up until recently, the Cheshire Cat sportive was organised by Kilo to Go but after they fell into hard times, the nice chaps at Velo 29 Events picked up the rights and breathed new life into this very special event.

The Velo 29 sportive has three route options;

  • Short Route: distance 51m (82km), climbing 1,600ft (490m)
  • Medium Route: distance 78m (126km), climbing 4,500ft (1370m)
  • Long Route: distance 104m (167km), climbing 5,850ft (1780m)

I’ve completed the middle distance (80m) a few times and whilst it’s probably time I challenged myself to do the 104-mile route, March is too early in the season for me to be doing a century, despite cycling through the winter months.

Early season sportives are often beset by bad weather, with rain and wind adding to the sometimes less than fit cyclists that are daft enough to tackle them. However, I like these Winter-into-Spring events as they focus the mind, ensuring I keep cycling through winter and stop me being too much of a couch-potato.

Previous events have attracted 2,500 to 3,000 cyclists so if you are daft enough, you’ll certainly not be on your own.

Cheshire Cat Sportive Route Map – Long Route

The Cheshire Cat starting point is a short ride from Crewe Alexander FC car park to Queens Park in Crewe, Cheshire. Cyclists on the long route set off in small groups around 7:30am and after a few miles of town centre traffic, you head towards Shavington and then East to Alsager and onto Mow Cop for the first climb at the 20-mile mark.

The next 20-miles is the hardest as this section contains the four climbs at Biddulph Moor and Rudyard. After Wincle, you’re pretty much riding on the flat and so the remaining 60-miles are pretty flat bar one small lump at around the 80-mile mark.

From this point, cyclists head West towards Northwich, cycling through Sutton, Lower Withington and Goostrey on lovely cheshire country lanes. Traffic builds a little as you circumnavigate Northwich but it gets better by the time you reach Mouldsworth.

The ride back to Crewe passes near Tarporley, Little Budworth and Wetterhall, all of which will be familar to regular Cheshire cyclists. The ride into Crewe is on busier A-roads but organisers try to keep you on the quieter roads where possible.

cheshire-cat-long-route-elevation

Cheshire Cat Sportive Route Elevation – Long Route

As you can see from this elevation, the challenge is very much in the first 40m (65km) and whilst there are some steeper climbs, they are manageable. The first ascent is definitely the hardest, Mow Cop is a mile-long hill, which ramps up to 28% gradient, right at the very end. If the weather allows, the views will be pretty special.

The second climb (Biddulph Moor) is gentle and you’ll be at the top before you realise it, assuming reasonable fitness levels of course. Climbs three and four are quite short (Meerbrook and Wincle) but you will see 10% gradients for some aspects of the climb. From this point onwards, it’s all straight forward cycling from there.

cheshire-cat-long-route-elevation

Cheshire Cat Sportive Route Map – Medium Route

The medium route cyclists ride alongside those on the long route for the first 58-miles, and then split just after Allostock. At this point they head South towards Middlewich and then thru Occlestone Green before rejoining the long route cyclists at Church Minshull. As such, medium route cyslists miss the small lump around Kelsall.

cheshire-cat-medium-route-map
cheshire-cat-medium-route-elevation

Cheshire Cat Sportive Route Map – Short Route

Cyclists taking on the short route have just 1,600ft of climbing and this option is very much aimed at first-time sportive cyclists or leisure cyclists not wanting to take on the bigger hills. However, it is still a challenge at 50-miles and may take around 4 hours to complete to be prepared. Our guide on how to prepare for a charity bike ride may help you to prepare for this shorter route Cheshire Cat.

cheshire-cat-short-route-map
cheshire-cat-short-route-elevation

Download GPX Routes

The Cheshire Cat GPX routes are available to download for the short, medium and long routes. Follow the links below to download the files from the official Cheshire Cat website and enjoy the ride!

GPX FILE DOWNLOAD

Download the GPX File for the Short Route.

GPX FILE DOWNLOAD

Download the GPX File for the Medium Route.

GPX FILE DOWNLOAD

Download the GPX File for the Long Route.