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MMH19 - the hardest MMH route yet?

2019 marks the 11th edition of the MMH.

For the first 10 years the route and format has been pretty much the same:

- 70ish miles with the first 35 miles virtually downhill to the Cotswolds,

- up 1 big signature climb (typically Dovers or Saintbury),

- then a 35 mile leg sapping steady climb back to Birmingham.

You may have noticed that MMH19 is completely different.

On the face of it you might think that this year's route looks easier - after all, it's not as long and there's no Dovers or Saintbury hill to scale.

Don't be fooled!

Why the change?

Last years HQ - Blythe Valley Park - is undergoing a lot of development work with over 750 homes being built in the next few years. This meant that we needed to find a new home at short notice. We're really grateful for the help of St Modwens who have kindly allowed us to use their facilities at Longbridge Technology Park for 2019.

As soon as we spoke to Longbridge we knew it would make a great HQ - it's got plenty of space, car parking for 500+ cars and also, with Longbridge being in the South West of Birmingham, we saw a unique opportunity to seek out a new route with new roads and a new challenge.

The requirements for a route suitable for 1200+ riders are pretty high, the route needs to:

- be safe using as few busy roads as possible.

- be challenging (but not too challenging!) for an early season ride

- be interesting and picturesque.

- have quiet roads

We looked at going South East to the Cotswolds to do a usual big climb - but it would have been too long.

We looked at going South West to Malvern - but that would have been too long and meant going through Worcester city centre or on busy roads.

Then we looked West towards Kidderminster and the Wyre Forest. Bingo!

After loads of time scouring maps, planning on strava, picking the brains of lots of fellow cyclists (including MMH fondatore Paul Prince himself) and exploring roads on our bikes we came up with this route:

We think it's great and ticks all the boxes - beautiful, interesting....and challenging.

Some stats for you:

- MMH18 = 75miles, 3600ft ascent. Average ascent per mile = 48ft

- MMH19 = 67miles, 4700ft ascent. Average ascent per mile = 70ft

Yes there's no killer climb - but there is actually 30% MORE climbing AND it's over a shorter distance - they're just more of the leg sapping rolling variety.

In fact the route is pretty much up or down until you get to the feed station 37miles in - you'll have well and truly earned cup of coffee (or tea), banana-cheese and crisp sandwich, tiffin, flapjack, brownie and jelly babies by that point!

Don't be alarmed though. The route is stunning with plenty of fantastic roads with gorgeous scenery and loads of cracking views to help distract you.

You'll be:

- scaling the gorgeous Clent Hills,

- passing through Kinver Edge with its rock houses,

- traversing the stunning River Severn valley,

- exploring through the Wyre Forest,

- ascending to the peak of Clows Top and then into the historic village of Rock,

and all that before the feed station in Heightington.

After refuelling you'll enjoy a nice descent in to Stourport and a scenic and easier 10 miles taking you back on the right side of the River Severn, through Hartlebury, Cutnall Green before then heading back to the Lickey's.

Yes… the Lickey's.

At 65 miles / 105km in you'll be going up Spirehouse/Lindhurst and Twatling which might be pretty straight forward in September but in March this should really test any over wintered legs!

So this year's route is a little shorter than usual but has significantly more climbing.

Consequently we reckon this will be the hardest MMH route to date - without any mention of the weather! 🙄😀

What do you think?

Don't worry though we 'll do our part to make you have a great ride and will ensure that there's the usual amazing things you expect from a madhare event including:

- plenty of signage

- loads of food and drink

- millions of jelly babies

- a lot of encouragement and support

We just ask that you make sure you:

- remember the Rules (especially Rule #71 & Rule #10)

- bring a positive attitude (plus your bike kit of course!)

- ride safely and sensibly.

One thing's for certain - it's definitely an early season tester and will set you up nicely for the summer ahead.

Got what it takes?

Let us know what you think.

Keep Riding!

Dan & Coz


Not signed up yet? Check out more about the event here

PS If you need some help / motivation with your winter training then how about either:

- Signing up to some classes at the Cycling Fitness Centre - speak to Richard Todd or Nick Selibas

- Joining us on the madhare rides on Zwift every Wednesday at 7:40pm in the build up to the event! (details on the madhare cycling club page here)!