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ETAPE DU DALES 2016 - Notes from the organiser…

Sunday 15th of May 2016

Priority entry for British Cycling Members opens on Sunday 8th November 2015.

Standard entry opens on Monday 30th November 2015.

This year there is a Team Entry option for teams of 4 or more.

The Etape du Dales is a classic event taking in some of the iconic climbs in the Yorkshire Dales, the “Etape du Dales” was established well before Yorkshire was chosen to host the 2014 Tour de France and some of the climbs you will ride in the Etape were used in the Tour.


With a height gain equivalent to a Tour mountain stage the Etape du Dales figures on most riders list of “must do rides”, even if only once! So, why not come and ride over some of the country’s most challenging terrain and experience some of the roads used in the 2014 Tour de France!

Covering 110 miles in the Yorkshire Dales the Etape du Dales sportive starts and finishes in Threshfield, near the picturesque Yorkshire village of Grassington.

Please do not treat your entry lightly, remember to respect the challenge. The Etape du Dales route is an extremely difficult 110 mile ride and requires an excellent level of fitness. It takes in the major climbs of the Yorkshire Dales and that means steep and technical descents as well. The course has good signage but you should be aware of the route and terrain.

The course takes on roads in high and very exposed areas. In the past some riders have suffered through lack of adequate clothing. Please make sure you have adequate clothing (you can always take clothes off!) and that your equipment is in perfect order, a bottom gear of 34×28 is recommended as a minimum. Please be prepared for multiple punctures on such a ride. Safety is our priority and so tri-bars are not permitted and approved cycling helmets are compulsory for all participants, no helmet, no start.

If you’ve read this far, you will be well aware of the seriousness of the first challenge, that of completing this event. The second challenge is the one close to all our hearts at the Dave Rayner Fund – to raise funds to support the young aspiring riders who are the future of our sport. We are proud that we can do this and it is no co-incidence that the riders the Fund has supported in the past are amongst today’s stars of the sport. To this end we challenge you to help us support more stars of the future by getting sponsorship for completing what is arguably one of the toughest sportives in the British calendar.

And the reward –

The two riders who raise the most money through sponsorship will receive 2 free tickets (each) for the Dave Rayner Fund Annual Dinner along with the opportunity to meet the star guest.

Any rider that raises over £500 will be given free entry to next year’s event.



Notification of non-starters; Please let us know if you cannot get to the event for any reason –

Organiser’s email:

HQ – Registration is at:
Wharfedale Rugby Club
Wharfeside Avenue
North Yorkshire
BD23 5BS


Map to HQ

Route Details/Map

Note: The Ford after Low Row – TAKE GREAT CARE (use the foot bridge sign posted) we had 15 bathers in 2015!

Registration is open on Saturday from 14:00 pm to 17:00 pm, and opens 06:00 am Sunday, Riders may start the event between 06:30 and 09:30 am and will be allowed to start in groups of no more than 20, with intervals between the groups.

There is ample car parking space, take care when driving down the avenue to the clubhouse, paying attention at all times to those volunteers directing the parking. Riders will be setting off. It is essential that you sign on and pick up your personal number and the integrated timing chip. You will also be given a card with details of the route and telephone numbers. Changing rooms are available. Showers are available for you after the event.


Hawes feed station is at 22.5 miles covered and has water, energy drinks, bananas and sweet and savoury snacks. This station will close at 1100hrs

Tan Hill feed station is at 47 miles covered and has water, energy drinks, bananas, sweet and savoury snacks, sandwiches and hot drinks. This station will close at 1300

Moorcock feed station is at 69 miles covered and has water, energy drinks, bananas, sweet and savoury snacks and sandwiches. This station will close at 1445

Stainforth feed station is at 90 miles covered and has water, energy drinks, bananas, sweet and savoury snacks and hot drinks. This station will close at 1730

Important Notice to all Etape riders: It is essential that all litter is carried onto check points or on with you to the finish. We’ve had complaints about riders dropping gel and energy bar packaging and this is so serious that it could affect the continued running of our event. Anyone seen dropping litter will be pulled from the event and entry refused for future events. Please don’t spoil this lovely countryside. Thanks for your understanding on this important issue.

It’s tough up north – well that’s how the saying goes and it certainly was for this year’s event. A howling westerly wind made it a hard day for the brave and foolhardy that ventured out in to the Dales with winds approaching gale force on the tops. It was windy at the start, and “a bit nippy” but that is at a mere 600 ft. The first we were aware of the strength of the wind was when RAYNET (the emergency radio operators) reported that they couldn’t get their mast up to full height on Fleets Moss (1,920 ft) due to the strength of the wind! Mmm – it’s going to be a tough day. Next was the report from the team at Tan Hill – “…we can’t stand up outside and its only 5 degrees” probably feels like -5 in the wind then.

Despite the warnings in the rider notes there were still plenty of riders lined up in shorts and short sleeves – may be Tan Hill is Yorkshire for “hill where you get a sun tan”? Not today – it’s where the wind tans your hide! In fact the wind was so strong we have reports of riders with power meters putting out over 250 watts going just 4 miles an hour.

The obvious effect of this was much slower times than in previous years and a high drop-out rate, but the bizarre effect was that the feedback from riders was that it added to the challenge and made the day thoroughly enjoyable and a massive achievement for everyone who made it back to civilisation on Sunday evening.

Well, all I can say is I have a great respect for everyone who turned up to ride on what was forecast to be a difficult day. A massive thanks to all the volunteers who turned up to make the event the success it was – and there were well over 70 of them, and a special thanks to the RAYNET crew who provided the communication to keep you all safe in an area where mobile phones masts don’t spoil the beautiful countryside, and hence they don’t work!

From the Dave Rayner fund and our supported riders I say a big thanks for supporting us for yet another year, and I hope to see you all again next year… hope to see you at the diner in November, you’re all invited.

Oh, and here is what you’ve all really come here for – the results.

p.s. we still have a few jerseys and t-shirts available if you didn’t manage to get one on the day. Email with your size to get a memento of this epic ride.



Any questions regarding the Etape Du Dales need to be sent to Event Organiser Nigel Bishop at