Roving reporter Jason Miles returned to Yorkshire True Grit for its second year.
This is Yorkshire?
The Yorkshire we all know and love isn’t normally basking in 28 degrees with baked-hard, fast trails. Most of the time when I’ve ridden in the Dales and North Yorks Moors it’s been quite soggy. And a bit cold. Certainly the cow and sheep poo isn’t normally baked solid like it was on Saturday when I made the trip over to High Paradise Farm in Boltby for the Yorkshire True Grit gravel event.
Boltby is a long way from my house in South West Scotland, but I loved this event last year so figured it was going to be well worth the effort. It turns out that Boltby is also a long way from my house in South West Scotland – I was knackered by the time I arrived. But anyway, at least I wasn’t late and after a cup of coffee I was raring to get started. Said hello to my mate San at the start line and we were off.
There were a few more riders taking part this year – not too many though because numbers are restricted by the fact that the route crosses some private land and the event campsite isn’t huge. All of that’s ok though, a smallish entry normally guarantees a friendly event.
I should also point out that this time there were some very fast riders on the front row – including serial race winner, all-round nice chap and Craven Energy Tri Club’s Ian Taylor. There probably wasn’t going to be a repeat of my ‘first to finish’ heroics of last year.
There are 2 distances on offer on the first day – 40 and 60 miles, with a 30 miler on the Sunday. In my head, 60 miles doesn’t seem all that big, but factor in the frankly silly amount of climbing and suddenly you’re looking at A Very Big Ride Indeed. The private land part of the route for me, is by far the best part. A smaller section of the country estate was used last year but presumably because everyone behaved themselves and didn’t drop litter or so massive skids, a huge additional section of the private moorland trail was available this year.
And what a trail. Miles and miles of rolling gravel road that stretches out across the moors quite literally as far as your eyes can see. It’s an amazing place and well-worth the entry fee (and the long drive).
The second-best part was the large bucket of sausage rolls at the feed station, about halfway around the route. I can’t even do those justice with mere words.
As I’d mentioned earlier, this time the normally soft/soggy conditions were replaced by concrete-hard trails and dust. I was really glad I’d brought a hardtail mountain bike this time rather than the narrower-tyred and rigid gravel bike. By the end of the ride many of the gravel and cyclocross bike riders looked shot to pieces, but everyone had a cracking day out and enjoyed a dry ice-cooled can of beer at the finish.
Next year’s True Grit event is set to take place on the weekend of the 22nd and 23rd of June. It really is a great event and sells out very quickly, so keep your eye on it.