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Wensleydale is the archetypal dale: a fast flowing river winding between steep hillsides, regimented into grids by drystone walls and dotted with barns. And this ride is the archetypal Dales route: long, tough, steep, technical and incredibly varied.

It all starts easily enough with a comfortable tarmac cruise along the dale floor, but this does little to prepare you for the 300m ascent to follow, and even this will seem like a warm-up by the time you reach the top of Whitaside Moor – your first foray off the black stuff and onto something rougher. In fact, by the time you hit the Apedale Road, you’ll have gained around 600 vertical metres and probably been in the saddle for around 2 hours.

The descent to Dent’s Houses – now evenly surfaced with few surprises – will push the average back up again; and after a short pull up to straddle Black Hill, there’s even more downhill to wallow in as you plummet to Castle Bolton. Thoresby Lane is a mixed blessing: off-road and with some great riding in the early stages, it sadly becomes a farmland slog at the end. Tea and cakes in the Aysgarth Visitor Centre will quickly banish any negative thoughts though, and then it’s up again, this time an incredibly long pull onto Stake Allotments.

The end may be near, but don’t get complacent just yet – after an excellent fast and furious rocky drop to Stalling Busk, there’s another steep and relentless climb before that ‘final descent feeling’ really kicks in. And what a drop it is. First on flowing grass track that raises the confidence high, then on a real rock n roll extravaganza, that’s sure to cause a few problems at some stage. It goes on and on, but still feels too short at the bottom. All you need to do now is nurse those legs back to Hawes on the road.