Follow britishcycling.org.uk on
Final preparations for Ryedale Rumble
Photo: Riders take in a number of stunning views throughout the route
Now into the final month of preparation, the team at British Cycling's Yorkshire Region are fine tuning their annual promotion of the Ryedale Rumble Sportive.
This year sees the event partnering Help for Heroes with each rider receiving a pack that offers optional sponsorship opportunities. Many of us are connected in some way with the armed forces and the organiser Bob Howden's link is through his son-in-law Phill, a warrant officer in the Royal Artillery. This new partnership has seen a re-design of the t-shirt, gone is the contour map on the rear that had one rider asking last year if it was his very own ECG printout from the ride.
In its place will be the H4H stretcher bearer logo set on a military green background. "Our tee-shirts tend to be collector's items - up at the National Road Championships in Northumberland I was stood talking to a guy who was wearing one of our White Rose Classic tees from five years ago!" Bob explained.
"At last year's Rumble we took along some tees that we had left over from previous years put them on sale at cost price and they were snapped up. Is there a growing trade in Sportive memorabilia I ask?"
This year's Rumble follows the same format as last year with three route options. Rumble 1 the longest of these has a schedule of climbs that sit well in the Palmares of the committed Sportivers. Starting the day is Boltby Bank winding its way in and out of woodland the climb is known locally as Sneck Yate Bank - a colloquial expression for a latch gate it's a fitting term as it opens the day's major climbs.
After scaling this climb riders see the only change to the route from last year with a right turn that avoids the technical descent to the ford after Murton Grange, a challenge that last year saw a few riders come to grief on the slippery bed of the swollen stream that crossed the road.
The detour brings the riders back into Rievaulx in timely fashion for the magnificent views of the ruined Cistercian Abbey, minus just half a mile from the old route but hopefully plus dry clothing. The first feed station at the Castle car park greets riders as they reach Helmsley the picturesque market town that forms the gateway to the North York Moors. A quick check-in at the timing station and the first of the days well stocked feeds. The roll out then sees riders heading down a short leg of the only ‘A' road of the day on the way east from Helmsley.
Blakey Bank is the next of the Monument Climbs, though by no means is it the only one as between the monuments lurks a series of lung busters that will have you clicking away at the gear shifter. Blakey Bank is one of those climbs that you see from a distance, you know you have to climb it and you hope that you have the legs for it. Once the climb begins nature plays its hand, with a tail wind you may be inclined to try and attack it (not always wise), if the wind is swirling around the ridge it will attack you. It's one of those climbs that will impose its self on you.
On reaching Blakey's summit the riders of Rumble 1 wave bye-bye to their Rumble 2 colleagues who take a right turn for the fast road down to Hutton-le-Hole. Blakey Ridge is a good place to take a breather here with the water stop and a view that blends both the lush lower valleys and the solitude of the North Yorkshire Moors in a 360° panorama.
Taking the Rumble 1 trail north, the riders head over Castleton Rigg before passing through Castleton, Danby and Houlsyke with the meanders of River Esk on the right shoulder.
Time for Rumble 1 riders to take their second feed of the day at Lealholm before heading out around the Glaisdale Loop, narrow roads here that take riders over Caper Hill, a road that doesn't feature on some maps but it's there, oh yes it's there. If you are the sort of rider who likes to sit back in the saddle with that smooth as silk style, then you won't like this one. It constantly rolls, so that you'll be in and out of the saddle on a surface that's as grippy as treacle.
There's a fast descent from the moor down into Egton before the switch back up on Egton High Moor. Now the Romans knew a thing or two about building roads but for this one they must have used the B team as they left a legacy of repairs for North Yorkshire Council with the peat ground beneath being a constant cause of pot holes. The Council are on the case however and work is underway on repairs. As befits a Roman road it's the only straight one around and it takes riders down through Stape, then across to Cropton before heading north again to Rosedale.
Mention of that name is enough to send many hearts pounding as in true word association Rosedale conjures up Rosedale Chimney Bank. Widely regarded as one of the toughest climbs in Britain it has the added ingredient of an initial one in three hairpin ramp and the hope of meeting nothing coming the other way as you seek the best line. This is the climb that has reduced top professionals to walking so there's no disgrace in not making it without stopping. You are encouraged to do that at the summit where there's a water stop and sure to be a gathering of spectators witnessing one of the very best view in Britain.
Well that's the last of the monument climbs it's now on to Hutton-le-Hole and the last feed stop at the Folk Museum and a chance to catch up with riders on other routes There are a few more stings to the tail as the route winds its way south through Ryedale before the final sting at Ampleforth. Nestling in the hillside Ampleforth Abbey and College is certainly impressive and the long drag up to the finish gives you plenty of time to take it all in.
Waiting to greet riders is a meal and this year's t-shirt that proudly features Help for Heroes. What you'll take with you is the lasting memory of a unique experience until the next one that is!