The White Horse long route is one of the nicest rides you will do all year.
The feedback at the finish is always superb. We get this in all our events but there is something really special about the White Horse. We worked really hard to find roads that are not regular cycling routes. It’s a challenging ride, make no mistake but it’s full of enjoyable sections to make it a wonderful end to the Velo29 Sportive Season.
Departing from the HQ at Guisborough you will pass the iconic Roseberry Topping and pass through Great Ayton. The uncategorised climb of Clay Bank is a warm-up before you enjoy the shelter from the high hedges as you twist rapidly towards Carlton and the first and very significant climb of the day, Carlton Bank.
It’s 1.8km long and 25% in places. It can only be described as a killer! Typically 10 minutes of climbing, anything less and you are doing really well. The views from the top are stunning but the best view as at the last steepest bit, so I doubt you’ll enjoy it!
From the top, it’s a long steady descent to Chop Gate and join the bigger road but still enjoyable ride to Helmsley. The road rolls through Bilsdale and soon we are at climb 2 Newgate Bank. It’s not too steep but you’ll know about it, the first and last part are the hardest, so save something in the middle!
From Newgate, it’s a long long descent to Helmsley stopping at the new Feed Station on the way. Stock up well on food as the next 20 miles are tough!
From Helmsley, we start the long horrible drag towards Thirsk but thankfully make the left turn and head towards Ampleforth, site of the 2012 National Road Race Championship. We continue to Wass then just before Kilburn, make a sharp right to start the long 3rd climb – White Horse Bank. The first section is fine, it’s quite steady, low gears are required but it’s not what you expected. However very quickly we turn left and bang! It’s like a wall! We twist left and right a few times but the gradient doesn’t relent. 25% in places it seems to never end. There’s a false flat past the car park and then a right turn and it’s even steeper!
Finally, the glider centre is in sight as we crest the hill. You’ll remember this one eating your Christmas dinner! The next 5 miles are pretty flat, chance to recover and start to rejoin the medium route riders.
We head towards Hawnby and don’t forget Hawnby Bank, it’s short, sharp and steep, though after Carlton and the White Horse it won’t present too much of a challenge! From then on we ride on some of the nicest roads in the area, twisting across open moorland, through tree’s and dry stone walling, it’s a route not many will have ridden and at this time of year is superb. Usually, there is a tailwind too.
Use the award-winning public toilets in Osmotherly if needed before you drag out of the Village to Cod Beck reservoir and fast descent with an awkward switch-back to Swainby. Don’t miss the right-hand turn in Swainby that will take you to the second feed at the Black Horse pub. From here its back through Great Ayton and past Roseberry again in the way to Guisborough. There is a sharp little climb out of Hutton Rudby just to keep you on your toes.
The White Horse Long is a great way to end a Sportive season, we’ve had great weather for the 3 years we’ve run it, the atmosphere and feedback has always been wonderful.