Signing up to Struggle Dales sportive in 2020? Here Struggle's Director and Yorkshire resident Matt Mannakee talks you through our playground of Yorkshire climbs, all featuring in Struggle Dales sportive. Here's what to expect when you hit the gradients on one of the hardest sportives in the UK...
1. Park Rash
"Park Rash is characterised by the infamously steep hairpin pictured in so many magazines and recently featured in the Tour de Yorkshire. It's also where our cameraman stands to snap your free event photo.
"However, for me Park Rash bites the legs on the long straight section directly after the hairpin. You've used every ounce of energy to pull on the bars and drag yourself around this nasty corner. When you raise your head and look up to see the gradient continue, it is as much a challenge for the mind as the muscles."
Matt’s Top Tip: “Relax your arms and use the momentum of the bike under you as you get out of the saddle.”
Watch the Video: Park Rash live
Location: Mile 52; Distance: 1.2 miles; Elevation Gain: 684ft; Gradient: 10% avg. Park Rash on Strava
2. Greenhow Hill
“I actually enjoy this climb! Only because there's plenty of opportunities to recovery between steep sections. Leaving Pateley Bridge its straight up and very steep - but it soon eases off to almost flat before the next steep section.
"The hardest part is the corner through the trees - especially when there's wet leaves that can cause your wheel to spin. Again there's another gentle lull before a final little kick. From then on it's a gentle ascent to the top.
Matt’s Top Tip: "It's a long climb. Don't press on during the flatter sections; instead use them to recover. Remember there's still over 90 miles of the sportive route to go."
Watch the Video: Matt talks you through Greenhow Hill
Location: mile 15; Distance: 2.4 miles; Elevation Gain: 934ft; Gradient: 7% avg. Greenhow on Strava
3. Malham Cove
“Winding up the narrow drystone walls, surrounded by epic scenery, deep in the Yorkshire Dales makes Malham Cove a joy to climb. For me, this is the best part of the Struggle Dales sportive parcours.
"Once over the cattle grid at the top riders get lulled into a false sense of security. Malham is a climb of two halves and soon after you'll see the mini-alpine pass with 20% hairpins appear in the distance.
Matt's Top Tip: “Don't chew the stem. Look up and enjoy the views on this one. They are truly epic."
Location: mile 38; Distance: 1.1 miles; Elevation Gain: 544ft; Gradient: 9% avg. Malham Cove on Strava
4. Two Stoops
“As the final climb of Struggle Dales sportive, you've got 92 miles in the legs. It becomes a war of attrition and just getting up without cramping is a challenge.
"You'll meet the bottom of Greenhow once again - which is enough to put the fear of God into anyone's eyes. You'll breathe a sign of relief when you turn left.
"Two Stoops builds up into a very steep section where cramp can bite. Make sure you've topped up on Hydro Tabs at the final feed for this nasty ascent."
Matt’s Top Tip: “Here's where you leave everything on the road. Dig deep, grit your teeth, roar if you have to. Just don't put a foot down.”
Watch the Video: How to ride Two Stoops
Location: mile 94; Distance: 1.6 miles; Elevation Gain: 680ft; Gradient: 7% avg. Two Stoops on Strava
5. Trapping Hill
“This is actually Trapping Hill 'the easy way', although it may not feel it on the day of the sportive. Unfortunately you have to climb from the reservoir just to get to the climb - which is when most people go hard thinking they are at the foot of the hill.
"You can see Trapping Hill winding up into the distance, so believe me when I say that once you see it you'll know you're on it!
"You drop down fast over a little bridge. This is where it all goes wrong for some riders. Poor gear selection can see you wasting energy - or even dropping your chain - when the gradient suddenly steepens."
Matt’s Top Tip: "Choose your gear before you hit the climb. Little ring but not your bottom gear!"
Watch the Video: Matt tackles Trapping Hill
Location: mile 35; Distance: 1.1 miles; Elevation Gain: 624ft; Gradient: 10% avg
6. Hartwith Bank
“This is a climb that most local riders avoid. It's steep. The road surface is uneven and broken. There's always debree from the trees that overhang and cause shadows and shady areas”
"It's also an eerie climb and one that summons up the realisation that you're in for a tough day out."
Matt's Top Tip: “Pull yourself around the hairpin as it then levels out until the top.”
Location: mile 10; Distance: 0.7 miles; Elevation Gain: 458ft; Gradient: 11% avg. Hartwith Bank on Strava
"Bedlam climb is insignificant once you've tackled the rest of the Struggle Dales sportive climbs.
"Yet, as the first ascent of the day - and coming only five miles into the ride once you've not long had your breakfast - Bedlam is worth a mention on the top tube sticker."
Matt's Top Tip: "Go steady and use this climb as your warm up for the day. Hartwith Bank is only 5 miles away and Greenhow is 10 miles away."
Location: mile 5; Distance: 0.6 miles; Elevation Gain: 281ft; Steepness: 8% avg.