The Leeds 100 Sportive is one of 4 challenge events we’ll be hosting across the country in 2019 designed for riders who are looking to challenge themselves on a longer route distance than our regular RIDE IT events.
The 2019 event takes place on Sunday 7th July and is now open for entries via our website at Leeds 100 Sportive.
To give you an idea of what challenges face entrants here’s our guide to the route and some of the key climbs. Riders completing the full route distance will have ticked off close to 9,000 feet of ascent so although we’ve only highlighted a few of the climbs the rest of the route certainly isn’t flat with a parcours that is best described as lumpy!
Our event is based at Harewood House, a location that has also hosted visits from the Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire over the years so you’ll be following in some famous riders wheel tracks as you head out.
As we leave the grounds there’s a chance to warm up the legs briefly before our first major climb at around 10 miles in where you’ll face…
Climb 1 – Norwood Edge
Length – 1.2 miles, Ascent – 570 feet, Average Gradient – 9%
Our first climb of the day is Norwood Edge, a climb featured in the UK’s 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs and which will also feature in the UCI U23 World Championship Road Race later this year.
The climb starts as you cross the bridge over The Lindley Wood Reservoir, first gradually but it’s not long before you’re into an early section of the climb that features ramps of up to 16%. Once out of the trees the toughest part of the climb is over and the gradient starts to ease but there’s still a long way to go to reach the top which can catch out riders who over exert themselves on the initial steeper closes.
Once over the crest at the top you’re greeted with views across to the Yorkshire Dales and the RAF Menwith satellite station with it’s distinctive white golf-ball structures contrasting against the countryside.
If you’re going for the glory of the Strava KOM it’s a little over 5 minutes to reach the top although we expect it will take most riders slightly longer than that!
Feed Stop 1 – Pateley Bridge
With the first major climb ticked off there’s the chance to rest and refuel near Pateley Bridge with the first of 3 feed stops that feature on the full route distance. All the feed stops are supported by High 5 Sports Nutrition and will have High 5 Energy Drink and High 5 Energy Gels or High 5 Energy Bars as well as selection of regular food such as cake, flapjack, jelly beans, bananas, peanuts and crisps.
Climb 2 – Greenhow Hill
Length – 2 miles, Ascent – 1,320 feet, Average Gradient – 8%
Our second major climb and another that features in the UK’s 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs is the toughest section of the ride. The average gradient of only 8% masks the true challenge of the climb which features a number of ramps where the gradient is well into double figures maxing out at around 17% in places.
Heading away from Pateley Bridge there’s a helpful road sign that warns cars of slow cyclists for two miles just as the road kicks up sharply. Avoid the temptation to stop at the pub and you’ll find the gradient eventually eases but only briefly before you’re faced with the next steep ramp. This pattern of the gradient increasing sharply then easing is repeated as you continue up the climb with four distinct ramps to conquer before continuing onto the top section of the climb where the landscape starts to open up and you can enjoy views across the moors.
After the top of Greenhow Hill we’ve a lot of height to lose before reaching the next feed stop.
Feed Stop 2 – Grassmere
At around half distance on the full route you’ll find the second feed stop near Grassmere, again supported by High 5 Sports Nutrition giving you a chance to take a break and take on some extra food and drink for what lies ahead.
Climb 3 – B6265 Hebden Road
Length – 10 miles, Ascent – 680 feet, Average Gradient – 4%
This isn’t really a single climb but a series of smaller climbs that make for a challenging section of the route where you’ll be gaining height over the next 10 miles. The toughest section is shortly after leaving Hebden; we follow the B6265 past the Grimwith Reservoir to the top of Grimwith Hill with an average gradient of 8% of this 1 mile stretch but over 13% in places. There’s a brief respite with a short downhill section but the climbing isn’t over and we continue to gain height back up to the top of Greenhow Hill but this time from a different direction.
You can take some satisfaction from the thought that you are now at the final high point on the ride and whilst the last 40 miles aren’t flat you’ve got more elevation to lose than you have to gain.
Feed Stop 3 – Huby
With most of the route now behind you there’s a chance to rest tired legs and refuel at the final feed stop near Huby before the last 20 miles back to the finish at Harewood House.
At the finish line you’ll collect your unique finishers medal and a token for some free post ride food from the barbecue.
We’ll also have a large outdoor TV screen showing the latest Tour de France action so take some time to relax and enjoy the event centre atmosphere whilst you reflect on your achievement.
This year’s RIDE IT Leeds 100 Sportive takes place on Sunday 7th July 2019.