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Queen of Yorkshire's Mountains

After watching Yorkshire host the start of the 2014 Tour de France and then launch its own high profile event, the Tour de Yorkshire in 2015, I was keen to head up to God's Own Country and get in on the action myself.

Yorkshire has fast been gaining a reputation as a world class road cycling destination and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I spent 4 years at university in Sheffield but I was too busy tearing up the Peak District trails on my MTB to enjoy the roads of South Yorkshire.

Now a committed roadie, it didn't take much for my friend to persuade me to sign up to the Human Race Tour de Yorkshire Sportive.

I was excited to have the opportunity to ride part of the route which the professional riders would be racing a couple of hours after us and cross the official race finish line in Scarborough before the main event.

This was obviously a selling point for other cyclists as the Sportive had over 6000 entrants. I had a long drive up to Scarborough from London on the Saturday, 30th April. The weather was all over the place - rain, sleet, sunshine, rainbows, more rain, and a bit of wind chucked in.

To get to my accommodation for the night, I had to drive down some of the roads we would be cycling the following day and I was really worried about how steep, wet and greasy they were.

Thankfully we woke up to a cold but dry morning on Sunday 1st May and the tarmac had dried out. When I signed up for this event, I had visions of a sunny bank holiday, riding in shorts and sunglasses. The reality was very different!

It was 2 degrees when we arrived at the start line in Scarborough at 6.30am with a cold breeze coming off the sea. I've never been more grateful for my thermal tights and fleece buff!

We started in waves on the long route - 118km of rolling Yorkshire countryside. The route was front loaded with hills which are not my forte due to a knee injury but I hoped they would warm me up.

Cote de Harwood Dale was an epic 1.3km climb and I didn't know I was racing David Millar until I received this photo afterwards!

We headed up into the North York Moors National Park and Dalby Forest (a throwback to my MTB days!) Villagers and forestry commission workers all came out to support.  

A highlight was the Cote de Oliver's Mount; flying down the closed road motorcycle racing circuit above Scarborough with my fellow riders was immense fun. Having a feed station in a cattle shed serving cold potatoes and Yorkshire puddings was also novel – only in Yorkshire!

It's a shame the seafront roads hadn't been closed to vehicles as we fought our way through the heavy traffic to the finish line, but overall a great ride combining beautiful scenery and friendly northern folk. The location of next year's Tour de Yorkshire Sportive remains a mystery but I look forward to lining up at the start line again.

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