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I’m an addict I’m afraid. I can’t help it. I get the shakes if I don’t get my fix in some way each and every day. The mere sight of a two wheeled, human propelled vehicle , coupled with expansive views of the natural world, simply send my heart into overdrive. Luckily, like all of our writing team here at Pedalnorth, I live in a very beautiful area — North Yorkshire. I have two National Parks to choose from, one further ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ and a World Heritage Site on my doorstep. For me, there is nothing finer than an evening spin into Nidderdale, with a return trip through the deer park at Studley Royal. It really is a truly wonderful place, that feeds the soul and relieves the stresses and strains of a day in the office. We all have these reasons for riding and places that we return to on our bikes. Fitting it all in is the issue I suppose.
Another critical thing for me is how I share my riding. In the m However, I also come from a rock climbing and mountaineerin a second person is handy to have along. Not to hold the ro a conversation with and to jointly explore new lanes and cafes a
My favourite companion on these occasions is my youngest so little, but always saying things of value and meaning. He also is area.
Yes, I often have to bribe him with the offer of a meal at Ke convinced, heâ€™s the perfect companion, and the days we share to
main Iâ€™m a solitary person, enjoying my time alone in the hills. ng background, so I also appreciate that every now and again ope, as I tend not to tie in on a bike! No, someone to share and to help me to judge the carrot cake!
on; he has no agenda, is reliable, honest and quiet, saying very s a joy to explore the Dales with, sharing my deep love of the
ettlewell, or a visit to a new cafĂŠ that Iâ€™ve located; but once ogether are eternal in so many ways.
On the mountain bike, there’s nothing can beat the sound of gravel exploding under the tyres as I race down a bridleway in the wild moorlands of Yorkshire; or the fast technical weaving along a tightly walled track, where the thought of speed is far greater than the reality. Being miles away from mankind and tarmac is a rare thing these days, but is easily achievable on to wheels. All we need add is a sense of adventure and the ability to get lost in the countryside. Getting home afterwards is simply a bonus. Whilst I’m a solitary cyclist, it’s primarily because Mrs Editor doesn’t cycle, albeit that she’s the worlds most enthusiastic cycle race fan, with cow bells and flags being frantically waved with a passion. Being a fellow countryside lover, we do get to recce out and discover great walks and places to visit, that I can later return to on two wheels. For now though, I’ll stay as a solitary cyclist, on both road and trail, getting my regular fix of two wheeled adrenaline. I’ll continue to bribe my son with the offer of a meal at the Fox & Hounds in Kettlewell, and share a few more adventures with him along the way, as we seek out more isolated lanes that twist and turn and drive their beauty into our hearts . And the modern world will be a fleeting memory as cranks are turned and we climb together, ascending the hills that lead to expansive views of a sublime world, that is the only addiction we need — an addiction for life!
There are some days in our lives that are extra special. Meeting that one person, the birth of our children, riding in the service vehicle on the Tour of Britain...I know; at heart we’re all children, so when Michael from Vittoria asked me if I’d like a seat, it was like ‘Do bears pooh in the woods!’ Arriving at Carlisle with Phil, our social media editor, we were treated to Italian coffee and breakfast on board the luxurious Vittoria team coach. If I were a cyclist, I’d live on a bus like that … but never leave Italy, because the coffee and the food is so superb! Anyway, introductions out of the way, it was time to jump on board with my Italian rally driver for the day. Name definitely looked the part; cool, suave, sharp, quiet and meaningful, with driving skills that wouldn’t go a miss on the track. Squeezed into the front seat, with Name, the mechanical wizard seated in the back between a wealth of wheels, all ready to be used on a variety of team bikes, we set off to the Lake District, heading at speed into the Cumbrian countryside, Lanes turned and twisted, with riders jockeying for position, and a small Movistar led breakaway soon took to the front.
The first hour was covered in an average speed of 46mphâ€”i needing water bottles. The crowds were out in force, and we the village tightens the route, small school children lined the into the corner, and all I could think was how a navigator flowed seamlessly behind the riders!
Reaching Ullswater, the sun came out and I watched as crow friend, waving with his wife, and his jaw hitting the grou colleague of ours was also in the lead Commissar car , as a ra been hallucinating.
incredible, and weâ€™d had riders chatting to us at various points, e were flying along. At Cumwhinton ,where a 90 degree bend in e road. My breathing stopped momentarily as we were hurled in a rally must feel, as we drifted around the tight bend and
wds waved. Amidst the throng I suddenly saw a colleague and und as he saw me. The impact was strengthened, as another ace official. Speaking to him afterwards, I think he thought heâ€™d
Having once lived and worked in the Lake District, it was good to be able to share the route knowledge with my two new Italian friends, who by now were showing me their own bike pictures on their phones...whilst driving along â€Ś thankfully on closed roads. Whinlatter Pass was a squeeze, as riders slowed to struggle up the gradient, and team cars blocked the narrow climb; but nothing could stop Name, and he delicately (not) squeezed (Latin for forced) his way through to the lead riders once more. All too soon we were on the Struggle, climbing on one of my favourite roads, with a throng of frantic cycling fans and an electric atmosphere that lightened the rainy scene. Walking Wiggins and argumentative Cav were a distance back, as the lead riders descended before a steady climb and final descent towards Kendal.
As Steve Cummings took to his pedals on the final climb, with the rain dripping away, but failing to dampen spirits, we swerved off just before the line, coming to a swift halt in a line of team vehicles. I could breath once more, but the adrenaline rush would last for weeks, if not for eternity. I’d done my best to remain calm and focused, tweeting race information as we’d driven along, and taking pics whilst frantically swapping lenses. I’d attempted to make it seem as if I was working, when in truth was simply on the greatest ever jolly a cycling fan can have. As the 2017 season approaches, and I look over the images that are now etched into my memory, I can feel the buzz again. Bring on the season , because at the end of the day, I’m not just a writer, I’m a cycling fan, and my soul is driven by cranks and gears and my veins bleed bike oil!
Kate Courtney is from Marin County - that says a lot about National XCO Champion, Kate is making a name for herself races around the globe.
T s a
S t A 2 w r a m f
T W b c g m L
t why she rides a mountain bike. Already the USA under 23 internationally, riding for Specialized and winning World Cup
1. Firstly, big congrats on your career on the bike so far. How did it feel to finish 2016 with such great results?
Thank you! 2016 was a great season and I was proud of my second place finish in the overall. I had a lot of small mistakes and crashes in races that left me chasing from behind.
Specifically, in La Bresse I crashed really hard in the middle of the race (there is photographic evidence on my Instagram). After I got up and got my shoe fixed in the feed zone, I was in 21st place. In the last 2 laps I was able to fight back and win a sprint finish for 7th place. While that wasnâ€™t my best result and was a challenging and disappointing race, it is one I am most proud of because every single point I fought for mattered in the overall. If I had quit that day or even coasted in for 21st I may not have been on the overall podium.
2. What is the achievement you're most proud of?
There are a few moments in my career that really stand out. Winning my first world cup as a junior was really special because it made me believe that my biggest goals werenâ€™t so crazy after all. It was really powerful to realize that reaching for goals you may think are impossible can push you beyond your mental limits. I was also really proud of my 2nd place finish at Lenzerheide after a really disappointing race at Worlds.
4. Cycling is notably a male-dominated sport, but it has change
girls. Do you find that MTB has changed in this respect from wh
I definitely think so! Lucky for me, there were a lot of amazing
womenâ€™s cycling in the United States. From securing equal pr Redbull TV, there has been more acknowledgement of women
competitive. This year, I had so many people tell me that the w
exciting than the menâ€™s races because there were so many wome
3. 2017 has the possibility to be your biggest year so far: where is your focus for the year and how are you going about reaching your goals? I can’t wait for the 2017 season! It has already been a big year of training for me and finding ways to improve - both mentally and physically. My focus for this season is, like last year, on the world cups and world championships. In reaching those goals, I also have a lot of smaller, process goals along the way. I am really focused on dialling in nutrition, weight training and continuing to find new ways to improve training on the bike. Setting all types of goals - big and small, short term and long term - keeps me motivated to get a little better each day I’m out training and enjoy the process of improving on the path to reaching those bigger races.
ed dramatically in recent year and is attracting more and more
hen you started competing to now?
g women before me that blazed the trails (pun intended ;) for
rize money to getting the UCI MTB World Cups streamed on in the sport and the women’s field just continues to get more
women’s races at the world cups and Olympics were even more
en battling for the win.
5. Not that we needed any scientific proof, but research has happy. What makes you happy about MTB?
Nothing makes me happier than getting out on my bike. Be mountains is so liberating and powerful.
6. What are some of your favourite trails to ride? Are there an
A lot of my favourite trails to ride are near where I grew up i was just starting out and remembering all the places I used to and Solstice are a few of my favourites. I also love exploring n
One of the best days I have ever had descending on the bike w took a series of gondolas and ended up descending over 10,00 7. How do you manage being a student at Stanford and being
Being a full time student and professional cyclist has hone important and in the end very rewarding. One of the bigges balance doesn’t always take away from your training - a lot of
As a competitive athlete, you are rewarded for pursuing perfec has to be flexible and imperfect. The path to success isn’t p Sometimes letting go of that perfection and giving yourself a earlier or taking an extra day off the bike when you aren’t fee won’t work. It just means you are flexible, which oftentimes im feel about it.
s proved that cycling makes you happy. I know it makes me
eing able to just grab your bike, get outside and explore the
ny trails you love in Europe?
in Marin County! I l love returning to trails that I rode when I walk or struggled to make it through. Specifically, Coastal trail new trails!
was in Lenzerheide, Switzerland after the world cup there. We 00 feet! a pro cyclist?
estly been challenging, but also something I think is really st things I have learned from being a student is that finding times it improves it.
ction and sweating the small stuff, but in the long run training paved and you have to adapt so many times along the way. break - whether thatâ€™s not doing core so you can get to bed eling well - it doesnâ€™t mean you are weak or that your training mproves your training in a big way - not to mention how you
8. If you weren't a rider, what would you be? If I wasnâ€™t a cyclist, I would still be an athlete! Sports have always been a huge part of my life. 9. You have a background in running and skiing, which shows your passion for the outdoors and for an active lifestyle. When in the off
season cycling becomes
harder, do you tend to mix your workouts by running and skiing or do you have any other off-season passions that keep you fit? I only actually take a few weeks off the bike every year for my off season but also have a few short breaks throughout the year where I cross train and focus on complete recovery. After Christmas I was actually able to get up to the snow for a full week and mix things up with cross country skiing, yoga, hiking, and weight training. Later this season, I will likely have another break up in the mountains for yoga, stand up paddle boarding, hiking and weight training. It is definitely very helpful mentally and physically to keep training! But mostly I just like riding bikes :)
10. Who is your biggest inspiration that keeps you motivated in Thatâ€™s a hard one! I take inspiration from so many of the people
I follow on social media - like Lindsey Vonn, Rebecca Rusch and
n what you do? around me - and these days from so many of the strong women
d Lea Davison.
11. What was your
My first mountain bike was a red and white specialized rock hopper! The first year I signed with specialized, my s-works HT actually had the same paint job and it was pretty funny to put them next to each other! My 29er was about three times as big, but I think it might actually be lighter haha
We have lots of hills here in the Yorkshire Dales. There are bas of you in the know will recognise something about the image on top of one of the classic hills on our doorstep. One that for me top too, where the carrot cake is literally to die forâ€”you have friend says!
Lizzie is of course a local girl from nearby Otley, and this image Riding here in the Dales, itâ€™s surprising who can bump into a bik
sically two directions on every ride—uphill and downhill. Those n this page; no, not Lizzie Deignan, but Greenhow village at the e is a local ride, and also has a superb farmhouse café near the e to climb Greenhow first. No climbing no cake, as my cycling
e wasn’t set up; she simply came cycling over the top one day. ke. After all, this is the cycling capital of the UK … sorry London.
Getting in a great ride is easy; be it a quick one or two hour spin, or a classic all day epic. Whichever you choose, you’re guaranteed to ride through some amazing scenery and have burning legs at the end of it. Living on the edge of Nidderdale, I’m able to spin straight out from the door, heading west into Nidderdale and across the Wharfedale, via Greenhow, with a further climb up Kidstones Pass or Park Rash as I head for home; or head north into Wensleydale, taking in Pen Hill before I descend and climb into Swaledale for Grinton Bank. Oh, and I nearly forgot the real local climbs, such as Church Bank in Pateley Bridge (26% at its steepest) and Lofthouse Bank, which will test the peloton on the Tour de Yorkshire this year. Wetted your appetite yet? I’d better choose a particular route for you then I suppose. Okay, come for the weekend and stay in the ancient Cathedral City of Ripon, with the medieval Hornblower ceremony and modern bike shop that is Moonglu. It’s got far more history than Harrogate and is closer to the Dales and hills. All you need do next is clip in and head for the high stuff. A good introduction route takes the twisting
lanes via Grewelthorpe, before dropping down into Masham, then heading past Jervaulx Abbey and its superb tea rooms to Middleham and the high gallops where some of the finest race horses in the world are trained. The hills and dales really open up now, with expansive views abounding as you roll up and down, and twist and turn, descending at speed and climbing in glorious pain. Drystone walls and meadows give way to heather clad moors as you follow the roads to the outlined summit of Pen Hill, standing sentinel over Wensleydale. However, the bite is in the descent, as Witton Steeps drops like a vertical cliff of tarmac to the A684, spitting you out right and pointing you safely towards Leyburn for tea and cake at one of the many cafes. All that’s required now is to follow the fast descent down to the Cover Bridge via Middleham, and back towards Masham once more. The 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart came this way, stealing all the Strava points, so just enjoy the scenery and superb riding, safe in the knowledge that all of your friends will understand why you didn’t make the top ten timings! Instead, relish in the fact that as you’re here for a few days, you can tick off Wharfdale tomorrow, testing yourself on Park Rash. After all, the Tour de Yorkshire hasn’t been that way yet … but Lizzie and the Brownlee’s have!
Route description, maps and gpx file below
A trip I will remember forever – A rollercoaster of emotions and
But let me start with the key figures. Lago del Narèt is a reservo the river Maggia and is located in the northern Italian part o Ticino) in a height of 2311 m a.s.l.
The climb up to Lago del Narèt is the paved road with the Switzerland, from start to finish, we had 70,5 kms of climbing nearly 2100 m. We started our trip in Locarno, 205 m a.s.l. It wa no clouds were seen and the sky was stealth blue. Best conditi but also impressive day on the bike.
Ticino is characterized by it’s southern climate, we were surro typical smell and handled the first elevation gain through the until the road leads further away from the river and the traffic the solitude and peace of the mountains, and our bikes to explor
oir, which is the source of of Switzerland (Canton of
e most elevation gain in with an elevation gain of as a sunny and warm day, tions for a hard and long
ounded by palms and the beauty of Valle Maggia, became less, allowing us re the freedom.
We crossed one beautiful and small mountain village after ano from a southern climate to a deciduous forest.
The real and hard climb starts nearly at kilometre 40 â€“ Se suffering. Everything really worthwhile has tobe earned thoug
At kilometre 58, we crossed the Lago Sambuco, whic The gradient was permanently between 9 and 20 %. Slowly th against the painful and screaming legs and slowly hoped, that
other and noticed, how the landscapes turned more and more
erpentines and steep sections characterised the beginning of gh, and the effort was rewarded with beautiful scenery.
ch marks the start of the last but hardest kilometreshe nature around us turns into a rugged landscape, I was fighting t this torture would be over soon!
Finally, the view made us forget all the pain. Deep blue water in a setting of snow covered mountains – No traffic, no tourists, just pure nature around us… There are many few places where you’ll find something like this and we found paradise on 2311m a.s.l. So the climb up to Lago del Narèt is a real insider tip for those, who are looking for quiet routes, breath-taking landscapes and who are not shying away from a long and hard climb. And, where else you’ll have the chance to challenge a climb through nearly all climate zones, without traffic and on adventurous roads? It’s worth a trip for sure!
Click the link below to visit the route and gpx file on our website...then go ride it!
ria and her cycling lifestyle on her Instagram profile by clicking the Instagram logo here
When I started to ride, it road, however after I did cycling routes in Chile a made “Los Caracoles” wa
As this is an internation and tourist buses that tra road was closed, first ti Portillo” which I will repe go”, a casino outside the 2.400 mts, fun and tough
t would have been impossible to imagine myself climbing these d it I only want to come back. This climb is one of the historic and when the stage road race called “Vuelta Chile” used to be as considered as the Queen Stage because of its high exigency.
nal road, for cyclists its main hazards are the cargo trucks, cars avel through the road on a daily basis. For safety reasons as the time I did the climb was as part of race called “Gran Fondo eat on April this year. 85kms total starting from “Enjoy Santiae Capital up to the Portillo Hotel with a total elevation gain of h just as I like.
* Start point in Enjoy Santiago, casino and hotel located in Rinco
* Finish point in Portillo Hotel, you can ride also 5km more to a C an old road which leads to the statue of Christ the Redeemer up To consider:
* It is a mountain road, with high difficulty due to the altitude an
* Hydration: There is no place to refill your bottle so it is ideal yo
* Food: You have to consider a time of 4 to 6 hours only to go. S
onada de los Andes, Valparaiso Region, Chile.
Chilean immigration point and then another 2km to the start of p to 3.800 masl.
nd the distance.
ou go with a group and support vehicle.
So donâ€™t forget to carry on enough food.
* Sun Block.
* Wind stopper: I don’t recommend to go down this road be the traffic but don’t forget we will be in the Andes Mountains, weather is different over there.
* Cash: Just in case of some emergency or some stop in the And * Helmet: Always! Summary:
It is crazy to suffer as hell and want to come back to the sam but I think that is part of every cyclist in the world. I loved the up to the top of Portillo, and no doubt I will do it once and a every year if possible. There is a lot of mountains still missing but I can say I already survived one of the world’s toughest clim See you in the road.
ecause of , and the
me place, e journey again and to climb, mb.
Click the link below to visit the route and gpx file on our website...then go ride it!