2016 Tour de Yorkshire Sportive

After an amazingly successful 2015 event, from Leeds across the Pennines and back, it was once again time for the Tour de Yorkshire Sportive. This time from Scarborough’s North Bay, through the North Yorkshire Moors and down to Filey in a 119km round trip.

Rise and shine

Sunrise before the Tour de Yorkshire Sportive

Following the rain soaked sportive in 2015 and the snow in the week leading up to the 2016 event the forecast was the major point of interest with the club the night before the event. Would the rain hold off this year, how strong would the coastal winds be and any chance the snow would return? It is May after all!

Another discussion point during the ‘carb loading’ on Saturday evening was how early to set our alarms. A 7am start time meant we had to set off from York at a very cruel 5:30 in the morning.

Despite the time it was actually a lovely morning. Fresh, crisp, not too cold or windy, and most importantly, dry!… It was a different story at the coast though. With a strong wind from the north it felt icy on the start line so everyone was keen to get moving.

And they’re off

Tour de Yorkshire Sportive start line

Setting off from the Open Air Theatre in Scarborough we headed uphill towards the North York Moors. There was very little time to warm up before the first real climb of the day, the Côte de Harwood Dale.

By this time the lack of breakfast I was able to consume at 5am, and little winter training I had done in preparation was starting to tell. Still, the views of the Moors from the top of the climb made it all worth it.

The route continued on through Hackness, where the 40km cyclists split off to return to Scarborough. We carried on with another climb into Dalby Forest, where the smooth road surfaces and technical descents were a real joy.

King of the mountains certificate

Second wind

That took us nicely to our first, much-needed food stop.

Not gourmet by any stretch but cold potatoes, Yorkshire puddings and salt were a welcome sight. There was also a vast selection of flapjacks, jelly babies and other sweet treats to enjoy, as well as ‘performance’ coffee. We also took the opportunity for a quick gear tune up on one of the bikes by the helpful Mavic mechanics.

Troutsdale valley, North York Moors

The food did me the world of good and on the next section I had a new lease of life. We went through the beautiful village of Thornton-le-Dale (a must visit with the kids), and headed east towards the coast. By this time a ‘team member’ had made a break away and wasn’t seen again until we returned home.

The road east didn’t last for long, we soon turned off, back up the hills into the moors. There was a fantastic undulating road along Troutsdale valley before a return trip through Hackness, this time with a few more supporters to cheer us on.

Testing times

Soon enough we were heading back out of the Moors, where the 85km cyclists left to return to Scarborough. It was very tempting to join them.

Shortly after the split we went through Cayton and had our second food break at a farm entrance in Lebberston. The route then went down into Filey and along the sea front. There were plenty of people enjoying the Bank Holiday weekend despite the cold breeze.

The climb out of Filey up the cobbled hill was harsh on our unseasoned bodies but we made it, only to be greeted by a strong headwind all the way along a main road to Folkton. That really showed the men from the boys with another two riders heading off into the distance.

The final stretch

The road to Cayton Bay was a bit less punishing but by that time my body had had enough. A good job we only had one more climb to do then in the form of Côte de Oliver’s Mount.

Scarborough beach huts

Actually, despite the worrying it was a relatively gentle pull up a winding road with some stunning views from the top across Scarborough. Unfortunately I didn’t have the energy to stop to take any pictures before a good descent into Scarborough’s South Bay, where the closed roads were lined with thousands of spectators.

Our four remaining club members rumbled along the cobbles of Marine Drive together before putting what effort was left in the legs into a sprint finish along a roaring Royal Albert Drive.

On crossing the line we were rewarded with a short cycle back to the start line where we received a medal and a pint of alcohol free beer.

Tour de Yorkshire Sportive medal

Final thoughts on the Tour de Yorkshire Sportive

Despite the cold weather and pain, caused by lack of training, we all thoroughly enjoyed the event. Everything was well signposted, other road users were patient and the route was very picturesque. It didn’t feel as big an event as 2015 but as the sportive didn’t follow the main Tour de Yorkshire route as much this year that was always likely to be the case.

In fact, we all enjoyed it so much so that we’ve signed up for the 2017 event already, whichever stunning part of Yorkshire it might be in then. I just need to remember to do a bit more training during the run up to the event.