The long route at 83 miles and nearly 6,000ft of climbing is without any doubt, a challenging ride. The first 20 miles roll across the quiet lanes of Kilburn and Ampleforth then over to the Vale of Pickering, nothing that an experienced Sportive rider will find a major challenge.
From there though you enter Farndale. The ride drags up towards Gillamoor; on leaving the Village you are presented with “Surprise View” as its locally known. One of the finest views on the North York Moors and quite literally a ‘surprise’ as you turn left out of Gillamoor the view across Farndale suddenly appears!
It’s a fast descent followed by some seriously ‘rolling’ miles on small roads before the first feed of the day at the brand new Farndale Village Hall.
After the feed, you are soon on the major climb of the day; Blakey Bank. A total of 1.8km of climbing and an elevation gain of 225m to reach 396m above sea level. It’s an average of 12.4% with the steepest section over 20% lasting 200m! To make matters worse, just before the steepest part, the medium route splits here; so, will you be one to take the option to bail-out and head home along the medium route!
On cresting Blakey Bank it’s far from plain sailing as you still need to climb to the top of Blakey Ridge. Passing the legendary Lion Inn, you may get the smell of a roast and an open fire, which will only make the climb tougher and we are 99% sure there will be a headwind! You reach Ralph’s Cross and turn right towards Rosedale, mostly downhill for 5 miles, you’ll enjoy this! The views are great, especially at this time of year. Into Rosedale and you’ll be glad to see we go straight through, missing the option of the Rosedale Chimney, a major climb in both The Yorkshire Beast and Stockton sportives.
From then you twist your way through to Hutton-le-Hole to rejoin the Medium route. From this point it’s rolling country lanes as you make our way back across to Hovingham for the second feed of the day, then onto Kilburn and back to Thirsk.