The CW125 Sportive celebrates the 125th anniversary of the Cycling Weekly magazine with three cycle routes across the Cheshire countryside.

The CW125 Sportive marks a pretty impressive anniversary in the cycling community, and one in which you can participate. How often can you say that you’ve celebrated a quasquicentennial (no, I can’t say it either!).

The event is based out of Oulton Park Race Circuit, Tarporley, Cheshire (directions to Oulton Park) and takes place on Sunday 10th September 2017. This sportive is ideal for cyclists based in Cheshire and is a short journey from Chester, Manchester, Wirral and the wider Cheshire area.

The CW125 event has three routes, two of which maintain the 125 theme. The Short route is 40 miles, the Standard route is 125km (80m) and the Epic route is an energy sapping, thigh burning, 125 miles. Why the dramatics describing the 125m route? Well, this route takes in the infamous 23% gradient of Mow Cop (image: andy jones)

Cheshire Cat

This Cheshire based sportive is included in our List of Cheshire Sportives, which is our definitive list of sportives in this area.

Registration opens at 7.10am with riders setting off between 7.20-8.00am, starting with a lap of the Oulton Park Circuit. Riders do this at both the start and the end of the ride, with the latter being a timed lap. It’s surprising how hilly the circuit is and it’s quite tiring after 125 miles so be warned.

There is parking available at Oulton Park and the event organisers (UK Cycling Events) also provide; on-site catering, medical support, mechanical support, public liability insurance and electronic chip timing.

The route is fully signposted and there are feed stations en-route, where riders are provided with energy drinks and energy snacks.

Once back at the Event HQ, riders can refuel courtesy of the on-site refreshments, clean their bikes with the bike wash facilities and collect their finishers medal.

Name: CW125 Cycling Weekly Sportive Organiser: Cycling Weekly
Location: Tarporley, Cheshire Event Website: link to website
Date: 10th Sept 2017 Price: £35
Event: Sportive Start Time: 7.20am
Distance: 40m, 125km (80m), 125m Feed Stations: Yes (see chart)
Climbing: 1,600ft, 3,300ft, 4,700ft Ride Profile: Rural
GPS Route: link to routes Map: see below

CW125 Sportive Routes

CW125 Cycling Weekly Sportive Map

CW125 Sportive Route Map, GPS & Elevation : 40 mile Short Route

The 40m route is the shortest of the three options but cyclists shouldn’t think this is a soft option, after all, it’s still 40 miles. This route is ideal for those wishing to do the CW125 Sportive but avoid the climbs. It’s also a great sportive for beginners.

The route has two category 5 climbs, both of which come in the first 13 miles, so after that, it’s all plain sailing.

Departing from Oulton Park, the route travel South-West for 10 miles, passing through Eaton, Tarporley, Brassey Green and Beeston before turning South towards Bickerton for 5 miles and taking in its only elevated section around Harthill.

After Harthill, the route heads towards Audlem, which is a 14 mile stretch, all of which is downhill. However, before you get too comfortable, it’s only a drop of 200 ft.

The next 13 miles head North-East through Hankelow, Walgberton, Hough and Haslington before arriving in Winterley. At this point, the route changes directions again and heads North-West for the final 20 miles back to Oulton Park. This section of the route effectively traverses a wide ring around Crewe but far enough away not to be effected by the usual town centre traffic.

Follow this link to download the Short GPS Route as TCX or GPX file and also to view a larger map of the route.

CW125 Cycling Weekly Sportive 60m Route

CW125 Cycling Weekly Sportive - 60m Elevation

CW125 Sportive Route Map, GPS & Elevation : 125 km Standard Route

The Standard route is based around the 125th anniversary celebrations, and as such, is 125 km in length – clever eh? Hmmm. Anyway, the 78-ish miles, follows the same route as the 60m route for the first 36 miles, until it reaches Weston.

By this stage, you’ll have climbed two category 5 inclines and enjoyed some of the Cheshire countryside and started to circumnavigate Crewe. There is however, an extended detour, which includes the infamous Mow Cop.

After Weston, the route heads East to Radway Green, around Alsager, through Lawton Heath End, Rode Heath and on to Scholar Green. By this stage, you’ll have completed 45 miles and may wish to take a quick 5 minute break because the next few miles incorporate the Category 3 climb.

Elevation of Mow Cop

Elevation of Mow Cop

At the 46-mile marker, you’re at 400ft, and shortly after, you’ll climb to 1,000ft in just one mile. The peak gradient is measured at 23-25%, which is a genuine thigh-burner but the personal satisfaction of achieving it is as breathtaking as the views you’ll enjoy from the summit.

As you’ll see from the elevation map, the decent is as steep as the climb and a quick word of warning, it’s fast, narrow and some of the cars don’t anticipate for the possibility of cyclists being on the same road, so please be careful.

The foot of the decent from Mow Cop is Astbury, which is at the 52-mile marker. From this point, the route heads due West and travels through Smallwood, Hassall Green, Bradfield Green and Wettenhall before returning to Oulton Park and a timed lap – just what cyclists want after 125km.

I like the sound of this route and think it’s probably the one I’ll choose. I know many of these Cheshire roads and have done Mow Cop a few times. It’s a nice combination of distance and challenge, both because of the distance but also the inclusion of the illustrious Mow Cop hill.

Follow this link to download the 125km Standard GPS Route as TCX or GPX file and also to view a larger map of the 125km route.

CW125 Cycling Weekly Sportive 125km Route

CW125 Cycling Weekly Sportive - 125km Elevation

CW125 Sportive Route Map, GPS & Elevation : 125 mile Epic Route

The CW125 Epic route is aptly named as it is over 125 miles and includes a category 5 climb (Mow Cop) after 92 miles. It shares some of the Standard 125km route but is very much its own route.

Unsurprisingly, the route starts at Oulton Park and riders cycle alongside each other until Tarporley, where the route heads North towards Mouldsworth, then South through Tarvin Sands and Duddon, before rejoining the 125km route at Beeston.

Riders then broadly head West, albeit with a slight kink towards Harthill, passing through Tattenhall and on to Aldford. The route continues along the beautiful Cheshire landscape, circumnavigating Carden Park Golf Course and taking in various villages (Bickerton, Wrenbury, Audlem) before heading North-East.

Cyclists by now have once again rejoined those riders on the 125m route, and they ride alongside each other all the way through to the most challenging aspect of this route, the aforementioned Mow Cop. However, riders on this route will have completed 92 miles prior to taking on the challenge.

As you pause for breathe at the summit, take a moment to appreciate what you have just accomplished, alongside the breathtaking scenery. It really is a beautiful sight on a clear day.

After a quick rest, you have to get your legs working again to complete the remaining 30 miles. From Astbury, the route heads West, in the general direction of Crewe but never getting close enough for the inevitable traffic to be much of an issue.

The route home passes through Smallwood, Hassall Green and Wettenhall before riders are reminded of the timed lap of Oulton Park – the absolute last thing most people would want, but hey, let’s see how we feel on the day eh?

Follow this link to download the 125m Epic GPS Route as TCX or GPX file and also to view a larger map of the 125m route.

CW125 Cycling Weekly Sportive 125m Route

CW125 Cycling Weekly Sportive - 125m Elevation

List of Feed Stations on CW125 Sportive Route

Feed Stop 1 Feed Stop 2 Feed Stop 3 Feed Stop 4
65m Route 29m 47m
125km Route 29m 61m
125m Route 24m 56m 74m 107m
Duddon & Clotton War Memorial Hall, Willington Road, Duddon, Cheshire, CW6 0HD Tilston War Memorial Hall, Tilston, Malpas, Cheshire, SY14 7HS Audlem Public Hall, 12 Cheshire Street, Audlem, Cheshire, CW3 0AH Winterly Methodist Church, Crewe Road, Winterley, Sandbach, CW11 4RP