“Ditchling Beacon is the third-highest point on the South Downs in south-east England, behind Butser Hill (270 m; 886 ft) and Crown Tegleaze (253 m; 830 ft). It consists of a large chalk hill with a particularly steep northern face, covered with open grassland and sheep-grazing areas. Situated just south of the East Sussex village of Ditchling and to the north-east of the city of Brighton, it is the highest point in the county of East Sussex.”
This famous climb was used in the 1994 Tour De France (as a Category 4 climb) and the 2014 Tour of Britain. The Strava segment stats are as follows:
Location: South Downs, north east of Brighton
Distance: 0.9 miles / 1.45 km
Height gain: 143m
Average gradient: 9%
Max gradient: 16%
KOM – Michael Kwiatowski 4.05 – 13.8mph (2014 Tour of Britain)
100 climbs – #22
Everesting attempt – 62 times (1 lap = 2.9 km) Approx total = 180 km.
So on paper, it was not the hardest climb out there. So up I went up Ditchlin Beacon and I was initially alarmed at the number of people walking up this climb! Surely not? The made me climb it even more cautiously than I had planned…I did not want to take the ‘walk of shame’ too. I made it to the top without too much hassle even though I was using a semi-compact chainset with a 28 cassette. This combination is not really suited to climbing up steep gradients unless your name is A. Contador.
As I began the long descent down Ditchlin Beacon, I was greeted with some truly stunning views over the Sussex countryside. This is another reason why I love cycling and taking part in these cycling events. The organisers of the most popular sportives usually plan their routes to take in the best views and natural and historic monuments available.
It was all downhill from Ditchlin Beacon to the finish on Brighton Pier so I went for it passing riders left, right and centre and thoroughly enjoying myself. I was almost disappointed to find myself on the finishing stretch and sprinted the last 300 meters.
11 AM: Finish.
I met the other ‘buddies’ who were waiting at the finish and together we waited for the last members of our group to cross the finishing line.
I have added the London to Brighton bike ride to the list of yearly ‘must-do’ events and will be back next year, and the next, and the next…
As I said earlier: “It was a good day on the bike”
Bike and Equipment: Frame: Cervelo S3 (2016). Wheelset: Zipp 404. Groupset: Ultegra DI2. Semi-Compact chainset. 11-28 Cassette. Power Meter: Quarq Carbon D-Zero. Computer: Edge 1000 performance bundle. Rapha Pro Jersey, Bib-shorts and socks. Lake CX-402 shoes. Oakley Jawbreaker Sapphire Iridium sunglasses.