The Cambridge Pork Pie 200 calendar event 2020 Enter this event >
8am, Saturday 21 March 2020, from the Recreation Pavilion, Girton, Cambridge (next to the church).
214km, 15 to 30kph (6h48m to 13h32m). 1900m of climbing.
We love a good pork pie! Melton Mowbray is synonymous with that tasty, pastry-covered block of jelly-enshrined meat! Nom-nom! Wikipedia suggests that Melton Mowbray promotes itself as the Rural Capital of Food and that it is also one of the five homes of Stilton cheese. This all adds up to a very good reason to go there: food.
I like the look of this, bringing pies to the people, almost like a British version of the Beaujolais run but with pork pies! I think I could be in.
— Paul, January 2016
This is a surprisingly hilly — and fun! — route for one starting from Cambridge: made more fun because most of the hills are concentrated at the far end. However, a flat and quick run-out for the first leg, and a mostly flat and quick run back in again on the final leg mean that you should easily make back any time you lose climbing les Alpes de Leicestershire.
This event takes place in mid-March, so expect a bit of weather en route — and pray for a north-westerly to blow you back home after all that winching!
There are a number of pubs along the route to break up the ride, and a couple of local village-shop cafés, although don't dilly-dally on the way out if you want to beat the cut-offs! And, of course, your taste buds can be tempted with treats in The Rural Capital of Food …
- If 200km feels a bit too far for an early spring ride, we're running the 100km Cambridge Spring Dash on the same day »
- Note: this ride is also available as a permanent, which can be ridden at any time — except on the 18 March 2017 »
The route has been simplified from three to just a single control at Melton Mowbray — it is up to individual riders to decide for themselves whether they wish to push on thru without stopping in a single 105km stage, or instead to stop for a break in Oundle or Oakham on the way out, and in Oundle, Huntingdon or St Ives on the return leg. Bear in mind, if you're planning on entering Paris-Brest-Paris then the first stage is typically 85km, and the second very similar, so this could be good practice!
Also, for those who like a bit of an extra challenge, or who rode the Classic route last year and would like to try something else, then there will an alternative and rather scenic route available — this route includes even more hills at the cost of an additional 10km, so 225km in all. We rode it last year and it took us just over 12 hours, and I was riding fixed-gear (72-inches on the flat and 64-inches for the hilly stuff), so with gears and a bit of fitness this is well within the 13h32m allowed. You can get your Extra Helping of Pork Pie here.
Starting from Girton on the northern edge of Cambridge, this ride heads north-west to St Ives and onwards, flirting with the fens and providing a very fast run-out to the most historic Northamptonshire town of Oundle, famous for its centuries-old school, as well as the one-time home of Billy Bragg. (Note: Oundle is not a control this year.) From Oundle, the route climbs steadily before dropping down into Melton Mowbray, where you can sample some really great food (there's also a MacDonald's should you wish).
The return leg takes a distinctly scenic route out of Melton Mowbray and the 60km to Oundle will likely challenge flatlanders (although not uplanders), which is good and character-building. The upside is that the run from Oundle back to Cambridge is very flat and any time you lost in the hills you should easily gain on the flat — the final 50km has only two hills, they're really only bumps, and the very final 30km is pan-flat and lit with fairy lights along the Busway. Just look at the elevation profiles here.
This is definitely a route of two halves. Flattish to Oundle and back, with hills between Oundle and Melton Mowbray … All in all this was a thoroughly enjoyable ride with much fine scenery, mostly very quiet roads, and challenging but not punishing hills. I'd give it a 10/10.
— Steve, April 2015
The route passes through traditional sandstone villages in Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Rutland and Leicestershire, as well as the ancient market towns of St Ives, Huntingdon, Oundle, Oakham, and Melton Mowbray. If you are lucky you will see lots of red kites and other hawks flying overhead — when we tested this route we saw dozens of individual raptors a-wing, a real pleasure!
All in all a great route that has the makings of a tough, early-season classic :thumbsup:
— Tom, March 2016
When we rode this route in March 2016, the weather was a bit heavy and the lanes were somewhat agricultural! Mudguards are requested for the benefit of café proprietors and other riders.
- There are a few bollards on the busway path — please warn riders behind you!
- The Busway may be flooded for about 400m between Swavesey and St Ives, due to being sited on a flood plain — see below for the diversion, if needed on the day. IMPORTANT If you do decide to ride the flooded section then walk along the top of the embankment but note that it is a criminal offence to enter the busway track and the buses travel at about 60mph along there while the driver reads the newspaper! We will warn the operator nearer the time.
- The route can be agricultural in places and therefore mudguards are requested for the benefit of café proprietors and other riders — and us cleaning up the pavilion afterwards.
- There are some steep descents — you should check that your brakes are in good working order before starting.
- This is an x-rated event — you must get just one proof-of-passage – a receipt – from a commercial establishment in Melton Mowbray, of which there are plenty. Please check that the time and date on each receipt is correct and that the place name is clearly shown.
- You are on a private excursion on public roads. The given route is advisory.
- You should carry a lock to secure your bike at the controls.
Start and finish at the Recreation Pavilion in Girton next to St Andrew’s Anglican church on Cambridge Road, CB3 0FH, 2km northwest of Cambridge city centre.
There is just one commercial control:
Melton Mowbray — Lots of cafés, pubs, Greggs, McDonalds, Wetherspoon, banks (ATMs), and of course Dickinson & Morris Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe on High Street (walk through the market, it’s on the RHS — the GPS files will take you there).
Toilets are available at the start/finish and in Oundle and Melton Mowbray, or behind the many hedges along the route.
The routesheet and GPS files
These are currently the routesheet and GPS files from 2018. We will ride the route to check everything about two weeks before the event itself and update them with any changes here.
IMPORTANT — there are major roadworks after Oundle with significant delays and narrow lanes for some distance — if you are not able to sprint to keep ahead of the traffic and lights then DON'T use the A605! Instead, just at the temporary traffic lights, when it is safe to do so cross to the shared-use path on the right-hand side and continue to the end where you should dismount and cross through the queuing traffic to the island and then to the opposite pavement, before immediately turning left into Barnwell and then immediately right into Church Lane. The routesheet and GPS files have been updated to take this route.
If you fancy a little Extra Slice of Pork Pie, this alternative, longer, harder route might be for you …
There are two versions of the routesheet, depending on what you want: one has distances between instructions and holds your hand; the other contains just the turn-by-turn instructions with only as many distances as necessary for navigation and planning, as preferred by old-school audaxers: (updated 3 March 2019)
There are several versions of the GPS files, depending on your device and preference: TCX files provide turn-by-turn in Garmin Edge devices; GPX files provide a track to follow on-screen on all devices, although older devices need tracks with fewer than 500 points. They're all here, although you only need to download one. NOTE you need both GPS files from whichever ZIP file you download from below — one gives the route from Girton to Melton Mowbray, and one back to Girton. (updated 3 March 2019)
- Download the TCX courses for Garmin Edge and new devices
- Download the full GPX tracks for all newer devices
- Download the 500-point GPX tracks for older devices
You can browse the route and view the elevation profiles on RideWithGPS here.
Getting to the start
Hopefully you live close enough to cycle to the start.
Cambridge is well-served by train and you should be able to catch the 06.44 from King's Cross, London, and arrive just about in time for the start — don’t worry if you’re a few minutes late to the start, we will still be there for the start of the 100km event. It’s an easy 7km ride from the station to the start through the historic centre of Cambridge — routesheet | GPX | TCX — if you use these instructions, continue past the Co-op to the start on RHS in 1km next to the church.
If you intend to drive, aim for St Andrews Church on Cambridge Road, CB3 0FH. We hope that the Parish Council will allow us to use the football field at the back of the recreation ground for parking, depending on the state of the ground — one of the helpers will guide you in. I expect we will again be asked to keep the front car park clear for visitors to the recreation ground while you're all away cycling. Wherever you park, please park considerately.
Due to the large numbers of entrants, if you could ride to the start instead of driving, or park outside the village and ride in, that would be an enormous help!
Light refreshments will be available before the start from about 7am. There will be hot’n’cold refreshments and cake at the finish. All refreshments at the start/finish are included in the entry fee.
The arrivée will be manned, so we will collect your brevet from you on completion, along with the single proof-of-passage from Melton Mowbray. Please remember to fill out the box with establishment name and time, and sign your brevet before handing it in with your PoPs!
Have a great, safe ride! Enter this event »