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It’s easy to think of the mtb’ing on the South Downs as the same along the whole length of the ridge, but there are one or two pockets that seem to throw up bigger and tougher climbs, along with steeper and gnarlier descents. There’s even the odd section where woodland singletrack takes over from the usual fair of chalky duplex. One of these areas makes up the eastern-most end of the downs, providing a sizeable wall of grass and chalk that splits the picturesque tourist trap of Alfriston from Eastbourne.
This month’s Classic straddles these hills, climbing steeply onto Windover Hill — the highest point at this end of the range — and turns tail on Willingdon Hill, a fine eerie from which to peer down over Eastbourne. The return leg provides a mix of thrills and spills in Friston Forest.