Most southern cyclists have heard of Hell of the Ashdown, but there's another long-running event in London's nether regions that's more than worth a look.

The Puncheur has been running for over a decade now, quietly plotting to test the early season legs of in-the-know cyclists on a scenic, rolling course through the hills of Sussex.

Springtime in Ditchling means the Puncheur - don't miss it!
Springtime in Ditchling means the Puncheur - don't miss it!

This year's edition takes place on Sunday 24 March. Event HQ is in Ditchling, just over the Downs from Brighton, and the ride used to finish with a cramp-inducing ascent of Ditchling Beacon.

The Beacon has mercifully been axed from the route in recent editions (some palaver with the National Trust), but organiser Morgan Lewis has found a few extra hills up his sleeve to compensate: among them, the 20% gradients of Cob Hill.

There are some cracking descents too, of course, and having ridden the original course a few times I can confirm it's a first-class route.

The distance - there's only one - is 100km (62 miles) with 1300m of climbing. Back at the finish, there's a hot bowl of pasta and an open bar to celebrate.

Only 500 places are released each year, and there are still a handful left for 2024.

Priced £33 including your lunch and a feed stop half way, don't miss it - the Puncheur is a belter.

Enter online at

Read our report of a Puncheur from long, long ago:

Hills and chills on the South Downs: Puncheur 2014 sportive report >