Challenge Henley bike route announced

Just Racing UK unveil Henley's 'fastest ever' 180km bike route


After several months of consultation and some controversy  Just Racing UK has announced their new Challenge Henley triathlon bike route for 8 September 2013.


Here’s what the organisers had to say…

In 2012, Challenge Henley was pound for pound the fastest iron-distance event in the UK. This year’s new route promises to be even faster than in previous years, giving athletes the best opportunity in the UK to achieve their quickest long distance time.

As in previous years, the bike route will begin at the prestigious Henley Business School, heading towards Henley and passing the eventual finish area at the stunning Phyllis Court Club.

Athletes will turn away from Henley and in to the Chiltern hills via Fairmile. This is the first of the inclines, taking cyclists past Bix and up to Nettlebed (the home of our official Charity, Sue Ryder hospice). The gradient peaks at 6%, but much of the 4 miles is at a very gentle 2%, allowing athletes to really attack this first hill.

When reaching the roundabout at Nettlebed, athletes will turn left along the B481 and continue along through Highmoor. The B481 turns left in to Greys Road (this is the point where in previous years; athletes would make their first u-turn). After just 1 mile, athletes make a right turn at Greys Green through the village of Rotherfield Greys to the first turn point just before Gillots Lane. This six-mile section is extremely fast as the gentle 300ft decent gives athletes the opportunity to clock some fast miles and drive that average speed up.


And as this is the first turn point, you will retrace ?your route back up to the Nettlebed roundabout into Nettlebed High Street, and along the A4130, where there is a gentle climb over about a mile. The next eight miles is the flattest part of the course.

Before getting to Howe Hill, however, athletes will turn left off the A4130 past Huntercombe Golf Club through Morgan’s Wood and power along to the second turn point, on what will be a superfast section of the course. On returning back to the A4130 athletes will return towards Nettlebed for approximately 200 metres only, before taking a left turn through Huntercombe End joining the B481 heading north towards Watlington. This section is quite technical, allowing athletes the opportunity to recover a little before hitting the B481 and 2 miles of fast road.

Two miles of decent to the next turn point will allow athletes to see what they will have to cycle back up – welcome to Howe Hill! It’s a great climb; first 2 miles let you get your climbing legs ready as the road progresses from 1%, to 2% to 3% during the first 1.5miles with a height gain of 130ft.


The following 0.3miles is the cheeky bit; 210ft, with the gradient progressing from 3% up to 13%. Let’s be clear, this is a lung buster. The final 0.3miles will seem like a walk in the park as the gradient slowly drops to 9%, 4%, 2% and 1%. And then it’s over (for now!).

The remainder of the route is a gradual decent back to Nettlebed (where a left turn will take athletes back to the roundabout at Nettlebed and a straight on here leads to the final 4 miles of the first lap covering a drop of 500ft. On completion of lap one you will turn on Fairmile to complete lap two and then again to complete lap three.

After completing your third lap, athletes will continue along Fairmile before turning into the Phyllis Court Club, where you will find volunteers ready to take your bike from you a T2 so you can continue onto the run section of the race. There will be feed stations at Fairmile, Rotherfield Greys and Nettlebed. Nutrition at all feed stations will be provided by USN. More details to follow soon.

The full 2013 Challenge Henley bike course can be viewed at, with more info and entry at


Image: Ben Hoskins/Getty Images