The Rawlinson Bracket


The Rawlinson Bracket ride is a hilly ride in the ‘Wilds of Warwickshire’ taking in the gradients of the Edge Hill escarpment. This ride roughly marks the date of the departure of a close friend of ours, Nick, who passed away in his sleep on the 24th of February 2012, aged 30. 2020’s event marks eight years since Nick left us, our target is to take our fundraising total to over £75,000 and you can help us do this by getting on your bike and thumbing your nose at winter.

This event has two objectives – the first is to raise funds for research into, and awareness of, Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS), the second is to allow you to experience the type of riding that Nick enjoyed with a passion and to convince you that cycling is a year-round activity, even in this country!

Nick was a local lad, born and bred in Kenilworth and worked at JLR. Nick loved cycling, especially the suffering aspect. The Hilly Route goes over some of Nick’s favourite local climbs and training routes. He was using these roads in preparation for the Maratona dles Dolomites in July 2012 and his first season of road racing. He was a keen Strava member and follower of ‘The Rules’ ( especially Rule#9. He was also the owner of one of the noisiest bikes I’ve ever come across, after several weeks of ‘swapagnostics’, it finally became clear that the bottom bracket was the culprit. That troublesome component lends its name to The Rawlinson Bracket.


The Routes

There are two routes available – the “Top Bracket” is 93km in length and has 985+ meters of climbing with gradients of 14%+ in places, the “Bottom Bracket” is 55km in length and has 368 meters of climbing with gentle gradients. 

The course will be signposted and there is a feed station on the hilly route. There is ample car parking at the start and finish along with toilets and refreshments.

There is a goody bag for all finishers.

Top Bracket

This year’s hilly route, the Top Bracket, is 93km in length and has over 900 meters of climbing packed into it. We have a new venue this year, the kind people at Harbury RFC have provided with their facilities for event day.

Think of it as a mini Liege-Bastogne-Liege in terms of gradient and length of climb. Here are some of the climbs you will encounter –

Climb#1 Burton Dassett – A short climb where you will find it difficult to stay out of the red, you will have an audience on the way up, the sheep are always curious.

Climb#2 Shotteswell – The rural version of the Côte de Saint-Nicolas, a short steep climb encompassed by houses but we can’t guarantee any screaming Belgian cycling fans.

Climb#3 Edge Hill (Knowle Hill) – This climbs appears in ‘Another 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs’ by Simon Warren. It’s only 600m in length but has a maximum gradient of 14% which makes for a gruelling climb. Nick enjoyed this one and always found some extra power to sprint over the top.

Climb#4 Winderton Hill – A picturesque climb through a Cotswold hamlet, enjoy the scenery – imagine you’re climbing the Côte de La Redoute.

Climb#5 Lady Elizabeth Hill – An undulating climb to rob your legs of their remaining freshness before the final climb.

Climb#6 Sunrising Hill – Same height gain as the Edge Hill climb but a different character, a max gradient of 16% and a rough road surface make for an attritional climb with an alpine style switch-back at half-way. Nick would always smash his way up this climb.

Here is the 2020 Top Bracket route:

If the button opens the file in a new window, try right-clicking and selecting the download option.

Bottom Bracket

The flatter route, the Bottom Bracket, is 55km in length and has 368 gentle metres of climbing. To me, this one is reminiscent of the rolling fields of northern France, a little Paris-Roubaix but without the cobbles. Nick and I used this route for riding endurance miles in winter. This is ideal terrain for all cycling abilities.

Here’s the 2020 Bottom Bracket route:

If the button opens the file in a new window, try right-clicking and selecting the download option.

How to enter 

The 2020 edition of The Rawlinson Bracket is on Saturday 22nd February. Starting at Harbury Rugby Club, Waterloo Fields, Middle Rd, Harbury, CV33 9JN.

Entries closed on 7th February… 

Top Bracket £50 on the day
Bottom Bracket £35 on the day

Online entries for the 2020 edition are now CLOSED. 

2020 TRB Event Updates

  • Pre-event packs will be sent out via email on Wednesday 19th once I have had a chance to assess the course for flood damage and make any revisions, I’m not expecting any changes as the course is normally resistant to heavy rain (the place at most risk is Fulbrook on the Bottom Bracket route).
  • If you have not received your entry confirmation yet or your pre-event pack by 23:00 on Wednesday 19/02/2020 please check your spam folder first then email and we will send you the information by return email.
  • There is a new feed station this year at Tysoe which means that the Top Bracket and Bottom Bracket riders can make use of it! The Top Bracket riders will be able to use it on the outward leg and the return leg. There will be a coffee wagon as before for you to purchase coffee, tea and snacks in addition to free bananas and other supplies at the event feed stop.
  • Car parking – the bad weather has impacted our car parking capacity at Harbury RFC, we don’t want to risk damaging the pitches so we will be restricted on car parking spaces, I will provide an update via email on Thursday 20th evening (pitch inspection). In preparation for that, I would like to request that our riders who live locally consider riding to our event HQ and those that live further afield share lifts as much as possible.
  • Weather update – according to the Met Office the forecast for Saturday in and around Harbury is light cloud with a moderate breeze, min temp is +9C with a maximum of +12C.

Get in touch

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