The White Horse Round was first launched in 2022, and initially had a different main route (105 miles). This had a lot in common with the current route, but ran clockwise. Also, it turned out it had two drawbacks that have led to it being withdrawn and replaced with the current route.
First, a section of the Mk 1 route descended the Herepath from The Ridgeway to the east of Avebury – fine in itself (and the current route ascends it). However, the Herepath is notable for deep ruts, and in the summer they are hidden by long grass. Descent speeds of 20mph or faster would seem perfectly reasonable to experienced riders, but a front wheel in one of those ruts, at speed, was more or less a guaranteed crash. (The author speaks from bitter personal experience…) The planning for the route had been done in Winter and Spring, when the ruts were more easily visible – the problem only emerged later in 2022. Weighing everything up, this descent could not be recommended.
Second, there was a section that went east on the line of the ancient fortification the Wansdyke, after Cherhill. It was very atmospheric, but could also lack a sense of flow. It climbed for a long time on tough terrain, and one long drag in particular was particularly arduous due to more ruts. Later on, there was a right-of-way uncertainty, with OS 1:50K and 1:25K at odds with each other. The true right of way was probably on the Wansdyke itself, which is brutally hard work. The nearby, adjacent farm track, much better, may well be a private track.
Some superb FKTs (Fastest Known Times) were set on the Mk 1 route, alongside many other completions, and they’re listed below for the sake of posterity and preserving these superb efforts. But the current 2023 route should now be regarded as the definitive White Horse Round. We look forward to seeing what new times athletes can achieve on it.