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#ColdDarkRides - Victoria Mannakee

#ColdDarkRides are here to inspire your winter planning and give you an insight into the roads that our friends in the Cold Dark North love to call their favourites.

The brief for some of our favourite local riders, brands and photographers remains the same: give us 5 photos and descriptions of the places you love to ride and a bit of blurb on yourself. Over the coming months we'll be sharing their secret climbs, epic rides and favourite spots here in the Road Gauge and on Instagram.

Director of Struggle Events Victoria Mannakee is the creator of Yorkshire’s toughest parcours. Her events take riders over some of Yorkshire’s most iconic climbs in what she likes to call “Yokrshire’s beautiful but brutal" landscape. Patriotic to God’s Own County, Victoria has picked out 5 of her favourite Yorkshire ascents. Find out more about their iconic events and their new Staycations offering here:

Blakey Ridge is perhaps my all-time favourite climb. Not to be mistaken with the super-steep Blakey Bank, which runs straight up the hillside of Blakey Ridge. The long but gentle gradient takes you up into exposed North York Moors scenery - best climbed on a sunny day when the Heather is out.

You can ride this 10 mile climb steady and look at the epic landscape. You can work hard and enjoy a long tempo effort. Or you can ride it full gas. I tend to do the latter chasing Matt (my husband and the other half of Struggle Events) as he disappears over the horizon - which never ends well for my morale.

Glaisdale Horror | 1.3km @ av. 13.7

Also know as Caper Hill, this narrow track is loose under tyres and mottled with grass, making it difficult to keep traction and stop the wheels slipping as you grind up the 25% gradient. Glaisdale Horror is a climb to be tackled out of the saddle - and with gritted teeth! I love this climb because it looks so fierce on approach. But once at the top you feel a real sense of achievement. Sadly for riders on Struggle Moors, this is just a warm up for Rosedale Chimney’s 33% gradients just a few miles down the road. 

Eastby Brow | 2.2km @ av. 6.7%

Also known as Barden Moor Climb, you can take this climb from Embsay near Skipton or I prefer the side from Barden Tower. It’s a great climb you can pace well as you can see the top from the outset. Descending into Embsay en route to The Clubhouse Cafe in Skipton you need to watch out for the nasty hairpin. However, I prefer to turnaround at the top, take in Lower Barden reservoir then enjoy the super-fast descent en route to the Brownie Barn in Howgill.

Trapping Hill | 3.16km @ av. 8.4%

Trapping Hill (or Lofthouse) features 80 miles in Struggle Dales, not long after the final feed station. Luckily it’s taken from the ‘easy’ side, allowing riders to hold down the pork pies we serve at the feed stop. I tend to ride Trapping Hill out of Lofthouse, which is the harder side. Although the lower slopes are steep, once past the few tasty hairpins it’s pretty easy all the way to the top. You can then enjoy the awesome descent into Masham for a cafe stop. 

Grosmont | 2.2km @ av. 10.4%

This 33% climb is long and exposed but rewards riders with views of Whitby and the sea. On Struggle Moors this is your furthest point. From here you’re on your way home! I love the decent into Goathland. Just watch out for sheep and the final hairpin before the train station at the bottom. Keep your eyes peeling for the steam engines plume sweeping across the moorland. 

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