News: Cycling Weekly tackles Struggle Moors sportive route

Rating it 10/10 for toughness, Cycling Weekly says: “Struggle Moors is a test of mental and physical abilities. It will have you working hard up until the bitter end.” Read the full review here...

Cycling Weekly reviews Struggle Moors sportive in the North Yorkshire Moors

A masochistic march over the North York Moors

When you think of cycling in Yorkshire, it’s more than likely the Dales spring to mind, with narrow lanes flanked by drystone walls and quaint cafe stops. But head due east, and you’ll and yourself in the raw, untouched and steeper North York Moors National Park, which all but flows into the North Sea.

The beautiful open moors contain some of the country’s most notorious climbs, such as  the Côte de Grosmont, which appeared in the Tour de Yorkshire last year, making the Moors a popular cycling destination. There are few, if any, rides that link all these classic climbs together. Struggle Moors really is an epic day out.

“The main climbs are brutal,”

...warns organiser, Matt Mannakee, “but it’s the bits in between, the unclassi ed sections that are the killers and will keep you pushing hard for all 110 miles. You can mentally prepare for big ones, but it’s the rollers that start straight out the block at Ampleforth and then keep coming that make it such a hard day out.”

There really is no denying Struggle Moors is a test of mental and physical abilities. Indeed, suffering in the saddle is the raison d’etre for Struggle events, whose original ‘Struggle’, located in the Dales, made it into Cycling Weekly’s list of the eight hardest sportives in the UK.

There are five categorised climbs in total. On paper, Rosedale Chimney, with its gradient of up to 30 per cent and coming at mile 91, stands out as the toughest section of the day.

The Horror

But in reality, it’s the lesser-known Caper Hill, AKA Glaisdale Horror, just six miles before Rosedale, which is the biggest test of the ride. In fact, the 0.8-mile climb is also probably the most technical section too, as it’s barely wide enough for a car, with a strip of slippery green grass in the middle.

With a more or less straight uphill trajectory of up to 25 per cent, you will need a clear run to attack it (and very strong legs) as it’s a straight pull from bottom to top. The added motivation of wanting to get up without walking (for even the slightest of foot dabs means you’ll be off and pushing) will also encourage you to turn up the wick a few miles out to get a head start on any pack of riders, leaving you breathing hard before the climb even starts.

Dress for less stress

“You’ll really want mitts on for Caper Hill,” advises Mannakee. “You have to do a lot of pulling on the bars to get up there, as traction is tricky. Whether it’s rain or sweat, you won’t want wet slippery hands.” A stark reminder to pack for all eventualities, as there really is no escaping the elements out here.

Hard though it may be, it’s the views that will take your breath away the most. It’s England and Wales’s largest continuous expanse of moorland, unenclosed and stunning. Reach the top of the climbs and you truly feel on top of the world, and once you’ve got to mile 93, it’s safe to say most of the climbing is out of the way, but take heed of Mannakee’s warning — there’s no such thing as a free mile out here. A combination of the road surface and undulating nature will have you working hard right up until the bitter end.

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