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If you enjoy mass participation challenges, then why not saddle up and make the Zurich Isle of Man Lighthouses Challenge a priority for 2022? This increasingly popular event is now firmly established as the Premier Cycle Sportive in the Isle of Man calendar.
For any cycling fans who haven’t yet seen for themselves the breathtaking beauty of the Manx coastline, then we’d highly recommend building a cycling trip around this unique activity. Taking in a host of wildlife, rolling hills, and even the possibility of witnessing basking sharks and dolphins close to shore, the Challenge truly offers a sight to behold while you pedal away.
The event is not for the faint-hearted, testing both endurance and stamina. But you do have a choice of three distances over which to compete – 37, 57 or 100 miles – meaning you can select the one best suited to your cycling ability and fitness levels.
The full route includes some 2500 metres of climbing. Starting at the famous TT grandstand in Douglas, the course runs around the Island's lighthouses and most of the spectacular coastline, finishing at Port Erin in the far south west.
Here’s what’s ahead of you:
Full Circle Route
The Full Circle Route takes a clockwise route of the Island covering over 100 miles and over 2000 metres (6800 feet) of climbing.
Heading south to the southernmost tip of the Island at the Sound, the initial stretch is classic spectacular coastal road along Marine Drive which is closed to traffic. The Southern classic climbs to Cregneash and the Sloc are covered on the way to the feed zones at Port Erin and St Johns.
Back for 2022, the Sloc climb will be over closed roads which will further enhance the magic of this assent.
Heading to Peel and then the Point of Ayre riders can recover a little over the northern plains before tackling the shorter but steeper climbs along the north east coast back into Douglas.
There are three well stocked feed stations en route to enjoy at your leisure located at Port Erin, St Johns and Ramsey plus a rider relaxation zone and more food at the finish.
Half Circle Route
All courses will have the same start and finish at Douglas Rugby Club and follow the main route south to the feed station at Port Erin.
The Half Circle route continues to follow the main course to the second feed station at St Johns and returns to Douglas via Archallagan, Braddan and Abbeylands.
The Half Circle Route packs in plenty of climbing over its 57 miles and includes the steepest climb of all routes just after the feed zone at St Johns.....
Covering the shortest distance of 26 miles the Quarter Circle Route takes the journey south and ends at the Port Erin feed zone. This option is suitable for families with children who enjoy leisure cycling.
For those tackling the short route you finish the hard riding at the Port Erin feed station which is a great strategy for novices as you are not over committing yourself.
When you have enjoyed the delights of the feed station you can make your way to the Railway Station at Port Erin for transport back to Douglas on the Victorian Steam Railway. What a unique way to end a great day out! The entry fee for the short route includes the fare for the train ride. The train station is only 400 metres from the Feed Zone.
The train will deliver you to Douglas Station, situated in the heart of Douglas from where you make your own way back to the official finish which is only a few hundred metres away from the station.
Refreshments will be available at the feed stations along the route. The feed stations are legendary and synonymous with this event! Some participants are rumoured to be returning just to visit the feed zones again! This are based at Port Erin, St Johns, Ramsey and the Finish!
Timing is all electronic using state of the art equipment which records your passage around ‘The Rock’ and provides detailed splits for each sector of the route.
When you pass through the finish gantry you will be presented with your well-deserved medal.
All courses are supported by motorcycle ‘service course’ and ‘broom wagons’….for mechanical issues.
So will you be heading off on your own Lighthouses Challenge, alongside hundreds of like-minded cyclists in 2022?