The Etape du Dales is a gruelling 112mile cycling sportive that set off from Threshfield (Grassington) in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The route climbs over a number of significant hills inluding Fleet Moss, Buttertubs, Tan House Hill, Coal Road and Dale Head. The total amount of climbing (and descent) is 9170 feet (2795 meters).
The first 10 miles of the route follows the Tour De France (Le Grand Depart) stage 1 from Threshfield to Buckden. The route then peels off to do the brutal but beautiful climb over Fleet Moss at about 18 miles into the route, there is then a long before descent into the small Dales town of Hawes. When in Hawes the Etape du Dales rejoins the Tour de France stage 1 route to ascend the Buttertubs pass at about 25 miles into the route. The Buttertubs Pass has an official category 3 rating for the Tour De France and is a popular climb with cyclists trying to gain the King of the Mountains on the Strava app. The route continues into Swaledale before leaving the TdF route before it reaches Reeth at Low Row. The Etape du Dales then heads off to climb the Tan House Hill but first there is the climb over to Arkengarthdale. Tan house hill is at about 46 miles into the route. Before starting its homeward leg. At 70 miles the Old Coal Road is a hard climb with all those miles in the legs, it passes Dent Station the highest mainline railway station in the UK before descending into the pretty vally bottom. The Etape du Dales continues along the vally gently climbing at first before another big climb from Stonehouse towards Newby Head. A descent is then enjoyed to iconic Ribblehead viaduct and continues to Stainforth before the final big hill of the day climbing to Dalehead at aproximately 90 miles.
The route of Etape du Dales is a cycling sportive challenge and is not officially a race (however the fastest time for completing the route is just a little over 5 hours and 43 mins).
The ride is organised by the Dave Raynor Fund. The Dave Rayner Fund was set up in his memory on 12 January 1995, to help riders make a career from racing on the continent. (Wikipedia)