The 100 mile route starts in front of Longleat House and meanders through the estate, circling the main house, past the big cats enclosure – Listen out for their morning roar. Riders will have warmed up nicely before enjoying the first hill of the day and exiting out of the Longleat estate. Eyes left on the way up, to catch a glimpse of the safari animals padding about in the field below.
Riders will be directed east through the small hamlet of Crockerton, turning right and skirting Shearwater Lake. Covering nearly a mile in length, set in a magnificent forest, the lake is a stunner. At Longbridge Deverill the 100km and 100 mile routes divide. 100mile riders will head straight across the A350. Heading East through Longbridge Deverill and Sutton Veny you will enter the Wylye Valley. This is a fast section where experienced riders can make good progress. Rural England at its best; you will whizz past some of Wiltshire’s finest chalk downland, weaving through quiet country lanes, past the villages of Boyton, Stockton and Wylye itself. The route changes from 2012 and at Wylye, riders should prepare to make a right hand turn and start the first of the day’s rolling climbs up towards Dinton. Crossing the B3089, riders will continue on towards Fovant Wood, dropping down into the pretty village of Fovant itself, where the first feed stop of the day will greet you on the right hand side at Fovant Youth Club (mile 28).
On leaving the feed stop, riders will hit the A30 for a brief stretch, before turning left to begin the steep climb up towards Fifield Bavant. Bearing left, riders will cruise along beside the River Ebble heading to Mount Sorrel, through a wonderful watercress farm; grown in abundance in this chalk-rich valley. Continue through the valley, enjoying the pretty villages of Mead End, Ebbesborne Wake and West End. At Alvediston, riders take a sharp right, preparing for a steep climb up to the plateau at Little Aston, with a fast descent back down towards Long Hayes Copse, taking caution where you meet the A30 crossing.
A short sprint to Tisbury will take riders on towards Fonthill Gifford. Bear left for a fast descent to Fonthill Abbey Wood, continuing down to Semeley. Take care as you cross the A350 and head towards North End. Enjoy the picturesque countryside and the descent into Mere. Follow the signs to the second feed stop, just off Mere High Street at mile 55.
On leaving the feed stop, riders should continue through Mere on towards Stourton. Riding under the A303, make a left hand turn towards Zeals and a right hand turn to Stourton; an invigorating, open plain awaits – a former American Airbase and quite unexpected – reaching the T-junction riders should turn left. Picking up speed as you pass the Spread Eagle public house, please BEWARE of the pedestrians and don’t forget to look right as you fly past the UK’s most visited National Trust Estate, Stourhead. The views across the magnificent lake, towards the stone temples will transport you back in time. Taking the right hand turn towards Gaspar, enjoy peddling through the pines, making sure that you take a sharp left where you will be rewarded with a short, steep climb up Penhill, through Penselwood.
Please take CAUTION on leaving Penselwood; the B3081 approaches quickly and, although this will be well sign posted, it comes upon you rapidly. Heading south and skirting the A303, make a right at the Hunters Lodge Inn onto the B3081. Enjoy passing through Charlton Musgrove and Stoney Stoke. At Redlynch crossroads make a sharp right hand turn up towards Stourhead House & Gardens & King Alfred’s Tower. This is a killer climb, short and sharp, but worth it for the folly at the top; a majestic building drenched in local folk law. We will have a ‘Sportivephoto’ photographer nicely positioned at the top to capture your pain! Please note that this is also due to be a separate timed section, so prepare to leave some power in your legs as you test yourself against the clock and battle up towards King Alfred’s Tower. At the end of Tower road, make a left hand turn where you will be rewarded with your second feed stop of the day at The Kilmington Common Home Guards Club (mile 73).
From here riders head out towards Kilmington Common, turning left at the crossroads towards Witham Friary. Please note that any exhausted riders will, at this point, be re-directed onto a shorter route back towards Longleat. Enjoy a fast descent down Druley Hill, skirting past the village of Brewham, with a fast, 5 mile pedal into Bruton. Turning left at the junction towards town, riders should make a sharp right hand turn, before entering the one way system, up towards Milton Clevedon. Pace yourself for the steep climb up Coombe Hill. Pace yourself for the steep climb up Coombe Hill. You will be rewarded with amazing hill top views across Batcombe Vale, with a fast descent down towards Evercreech. Making a right hand turn at the little church, now begins a steady climb through Stoney Stratton, Westcombe – bearing left, then right towards Batcombe, for a short, sharp climb up to the marshalled crossing of the A359.
From here riders pass through Upton Noble, turning left towards Witham Friary, over the humped-back bridge with a rolling road towards the final climb of the day; Gare Hill. Once climbed and recovered, riders should make a left hand turn, heading towards Maiden Bradley. Once across the B3092 you are now on the homeward stretch. Make a left hand turn down towards Horningsham. A rapid descent will guide you to Horningsham crossroads. Please take care at the crossroads by The Bath Arms, before enjoying the most spectacular finish to the 2013 Lionheart, straight down the Longleat Drive, finishing in front of Longleat House. We will be there to congratulate and decorate you with your Endura Trek Lionheart medal, encouraging you to re-fuel with Mrs B’s hot-pot.
A big pat on the back – you’ve done it!