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Brutal but brilliant that's the White Rose Classic
7:10am Thursday 21st June 2012 in Sport
Cyclists from around the country travelled from far and wide to take part in the White Rose Classic Cycle Sportive on Sunday.
Hosted by Ilkley Cycling Club, the event is a supported endurance event where cyclists complete one of three challenging routes around the Yorkshire Dales pitting themselves against some of the toughest climbs the county has to offer.
The White Rose Classic is renowned as one of the most prestigious Cycle Sportives in the UK and has been resurrected by Ilkley Cycling Club after a few years absence from the Sportive calendar.
Starting and finishing at Ilkley Rugby Club, the three routes took the riders through the heart of the stunning Yorkshire Dales.
At 114 miles the epic long route tackled the fearsome climbs of Fleet Moss over into Wensleydale and the much revered Coal Road from Garsdale Head into Dentdale.
Riders taking on the 84-mile medium route tackled the testing climb from Halton Gill before dropping down into Settle only to be faced with a lung-busting climb out of Settle before the fabulous descent down into Airton.
The short route, at 50 miles, was still a real test of fitness with riders tackling the long pull up to Greenhow battling against a strong headwind and then returning via Grassington. All the routes took in the challenging climb at Norwood Edge and weary legs were tested to the absolute limit with a final ‘sting in the tail’ up and over Langbar.
The top riders completed the long course in a little over six hours, but for many simply taking part and completing the event was a huge achievement in itself.
Commenting after the event, cyclist Brain Ferguson said: “That big 1,900ft climb up Fleet Moss hurt, but to follow that with the 20per cent gradient Coal Road only 10 miles later, was just brutal, but brilliant!”
Weather conditions for the day started off dull with some light showers and a tough headwind for the riders heading up the valley, but later in the day the afternoon sunshine broke through to warm tired legs making for a more pleasant return to Ilkley.
Feeding stations along the way provided riders with a welcome opportunity to take a break and refuel.
Food the feeding stations was provided by Warburton's who also had three of their company directors taking part in the event.
The fabulous new facility at Ilkley Rugby club provided changing and shower facilities and hot food was served to replenish the depleted energy levels of the victorious riders on their return.
The rugby club terrace, against the back drop of Ilkley Moor, provided a great opportunity for the participants to relax after their efforts and exchange stories of a shared experience.
Back at the HQ there was plenty to keep the waiting families and supporters entertained with a 'tented village', sponsored by Spooners, providing ample entertainment for the whole family with a bouncy castle to keep the children occupied.
Younger and older children alike we able to test their bike handling abilities on a skills course provide by Ginny Lenard from the Cyclist Touring Club. The Ilkley Catering Company served up a hog roast, and students from Ilkley Grammar School provided homemade cakes, teas and coffees helping to raise vital funds for a trip to Borneo later in the year.
Ilkley Cycle Club was proudly showing off their brand new fleet of lightweight children's bikes purchased as part of its ambitious Youth Development Programme, aimed at supporting and delivering coaching for the younger members of the club.
Children were able inspect and try out the shinny new bikes for themselves generating huge interest in the recently launched Youth Development Programme.
Sally Mathews and her team where on hand to provide sports massage to tired muscles and JD Cycles supported the event providing mobile mechanical support.
Sue Ryder Cancer Care helped support the event with volunteers helping out at the feed stations and at the registration and check-in the desks. Sue Ryder’s Andy Wood also acted as compere for the event.
It was also an ideal opportunity for Sue Ryder to promote their own fund raising event, the Bronte Sportive due to take place on July 15.