This weekend I went to the Yorkshire Dales and it was my first time there so it was all new to me and something to look forward to.
The first I knew about the ride was the day before which was handy as I was hoping for a decent ride as I go to Mallorca in 2 weeks.
I played Football and Badminton the night before and with not playing often it takes me a while to recover so I knew I was going to be sore for the first few miles. I spent large part of Friday night on the foam roller to help with recovery as much as possible, I even went to KFC for some ‘quality’ chicken!
It was an early start with it being a 2hr+ drive to the start so I was picked up at 6:30am.
When we got into the Dales it was just stunning, it was similar to the Peak District only it looked even more remote which is exactly what I like. A little part of me was like “Shit I have ride here!” though.
Who needs a warm up anyway
I’d only seen the planned route and that it was about 50 miles and 6500ft of elevation but you don’t think much of it when you’re sitting at a desk so you just agree to go and think “Why the hell not”.
We parked up and we had the first big hill at the end of the car park, I like to have about 10 miles to feel good but I didn’t even have 50 metres on this ride.
The first hill was Fleet Moss, and it’s number 50 0n the top 100 climbs in the UK. It maxes out at over 20% but starts off fairly steady and just kicks up at the top for about half a mile. I gave it about as much as I could before taking the walking option.
I probably walked the last 300 metres of a 3.3 mile climb. When you’re walking 3 miles into your ride, with 1000ft of climbing already done you presume the worst and thing this is going to be one tough day!
It’s safe to say I wasn’t in the best of moods even after the descent, I guess I was just trying to focus and keep my head cool for the rest of the ride.
After this there was a bit we had to come to a standstill because of sheep, lots and lots of sheep. They were all beard herded into the other side of the stream so we were surrounded by hundreds of them! It was quite cool to see the sheep dogs at work though.
If it’s good enough for the TdF, It’s good enough for us
The next climb was “Cote de Cray” and the Tour De France went up this climb when the Tour De France came to Yorkshire in 2016. It was a nice climb this also, it was a little testing but at the same time comfortable and the alpine like switchback was fun although it did kick up in gradient!
There was a Fell run alongside this part too, a 26 mile trail run with 3000ft of elevation and I was just watching them and added a little distraction.
This place was simply just stunning everywhere you look its all green and untouched and it was all just so quiet and peaceful.
The weather wasn’t too bad, it was very grey and foggy and temperature wise it was very much a gilet day. Too warm for a jacket and too cold for just a jersey so with a gilet it’s a fine between, easily removable and can alter the zip length to allow more breathability.
The third big climb, out of 5 was called Grinton and it took you to a top of a Moore. Luckily it was also the last climb before lunch with a descent straight down to the Café…winning!
We’d also planned to meet a couple of riders we knew at the cafe, they had planned a route which caught ours up which worked out really well, they then continued with us for the last part of our ride.
Usually on climbs it’s just the gradient you need to be careful with, but on this climb there were tanks to watch out for too!
Again this was a testing time of around 10% and kicked up in quite a few section. But I felt comfortable going up it and once at the top was just on a super high!
Thanks…but no thanks
Rolling out of the cafe took us to the 4th climb, which started at 30% and then levelled off. No way was I riding the first part so I started walking up it until Ali mentioned she wouldn’t like to descent that which reminded me of the problems I was having with my back wheel. My wheel had been slipping when out the saddle on some damp areas and it also skidded out on a 25% descent so when Ali mentioned that I walked straight back down haha. I have so much respect for those who cycled up it. Ken, Andy, Rob – You’re incredible riders!
Ali and I waited for them at the bottom and we just took the opportunity to rest and take some photos. It was funny to overhear other cyclist going past saying just how steep that hills was.
My Garmin had switched off during this time and it wouldn’t turn back on either so I did the last 10 miles without one, luckily Ali was able to send her file to me after the ride so I could upload to Strava afterwards. As you know…it didn’t happen otherwise.
The last hill of the day was Buttertubs. Another hill the Tour De France went up (although I think they went up the other side) knows as the easy side, amateurs.
After this climb was a descent to the car so I wanted to make sure I got to the top of this without walking and by this point I was absolutely fucked to say the least, I had absolutely nothing left.
Never celebrate too early
The start was quite tough to begin with and towards the first hairpin I could see it kicking up quite a bit more. I could see Ken in the distance going up it and it didn’t look easy. Anyhow I got to there and it was steep and I was struggling but I could see what I believed to the top so I gave it my all knowing that this will be the end. Wrong. I got to the top of this bit and was like “I’ve done it! This is amazing!!!” and as I was going round it opened up and I could see one last harsh ramp up and I could see Ken waiting there so I knew that this would be the top, but it looked tougher than what I had just done.
I took this part to eat part of a flapjack to get me up. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get out the saddle to try and get up as I wouldn’t be able to support myself and I’d probably just hit the deck so I really had to push down hard and I just made it. If it was a few more metres I don’t think I could have done, I definitely think frustration got me up it too.
Now for the fun part.
It was all down from here straight from Buttertubs to Hawes where we had parked. At the bottom of the hill we saw a cycling cafe so we had some coffee and cakes to fuel us for the way back.
From here to the car it was through the main little village and it was mainly cobbles which was quite a fun way to finish the ride. It was a top day, awesome riding from all of us – we all did excellent and great company too. But I was so happy to be going home!
Finished off with a Burger King on the way home too was just the right way to finish off.