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Distance: 40 miles
Ascent: 1,168 metres
Key climbs: Norwood Edge, Hartwith Bank, Nought Bank Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/1419920560
Start time: 9:30am from The Commute, 20 Leeds Road, Ilkley, LS29 8DS Commute opening time: 8:30am for registration, coffees and snacks
A well tried and tested route with YVT, although the route is only 40 miles it presents riders with 3 tasty climbs, which all feature in Simon Warren’s Yorkshire Climbs book. It’s great training if you’re building up to a hilly sportive or just want to get some serious climbing in, but don’t want to commit to a really long full day ride. The scenery is splendid too as you travel out of the Wharfe valley into Nidderdale and then return again via the Washburn Valley.
To start with you head east from Ilkley along the avenue of trees towards Asquith.
After skirting Otley, a modest hill of 1⁄2 mile up to Farnley tells warms the climbing legs up for what soon lies in store. After a descent to the head of Lindley reservoir, the road takes a sudden turn upwards into the high teen percentage as you climb Norwood Edge. The steep section lasts longer than is pleasurable before the gradient lessens allowing you to turn a steady tempo to the summit.
From the top you have a view (photo above) to the large white ‘golf balls’ which characterise the Menwith Hill US base. An undulating 6 miles takes you into Nidderdale to the base of the next hill, Hartwith Bank which climbs up to the famous Brimham Rocks. The narrow road twists and turns through the trees and the steep gradient at times seems unrelenting. The final section is only a few % and you soon hit the crossroads not far from Brimham Rocks. A sweeping descent follows soon taking you onto the B6265, the main road from Ripon to Pateley Bridge. You are now on the route of day 1 of the 2016 Tour de Yorkshire when the peleton were riding into a strong headwind in almost artic conditions!
Carry on the B6265 for 3 miles to reach the small town of Pateley Bridge. After crossing the bridge over the
river you hit the first slope of
Greenhow bank, but you soon turn
left to enjoy a short section of flat before the work starts. Nought Bank kicks off with a short very steep section on a left hand bend (photo) which soon relaxes a while before the gradient creeps up and up as the road snakes up the hillside.
You then enter the final steep section flanked by exposed rocks before a left hand swing after which the gradient eases, although the top is still nearly 1km away. Quite worthy of the 8/10 rating by Simon Warren in his top 100 climbs.
The remaining miles are certainly not flat, so make sure you save some energy for the rolling road back to Ilkley. The descent to Thruscross Reservoir (photo above) is a hugely enjoyable swoop down the hillside and after another short steep climb up from Blubberhouses you eventually reach
the top of the hill above Asquith with views back into the Wharfe Valley.
The final reward is a two mile descent before the final three miles on the flat back into Ilkley. The legs will certainly tell you that you got good value from those 40 miles. Why not give us a tweet when you’ve finished, we’d like to hear which of the three hills you thought was the toughest – we’re still undecided on the matter!