Come day of Le Grand Depart, Kidstones became the place people wanted to be. It’s the categorised climb on Stage 1 and situated in the most beautiful countryside in the Yorkshire Dales (plus there is a pub at the bottom). It also become a hub of fun and silliness. Richard from SCC captured some great pics of the day.
So what about the climb itself?
Kidstones isn’t the toughest climb in the area (I think that award goes to Park Rash), but it is (in my opinion) the best. Starting off relatively easy and ramping up to a harsh 17% for final corner) it’s a climb that needs a bit of strategy, but one you can really have a good go at. I generally go deliberately slow at the bottom then give it the beans as you get past the waterfall (which probably won’t be a waterfall if last year’s weather is anything to go by). I promptly regret giving it the beans when I realise I’ve got another 100 metres to go, but all is soon forgotten for the fast, smooth downhill getting ever closer to the grub spot.
Stava has got it down as a Category 3 climb (Le Tour classed it as Category 4), but as UK climbs go, I’d say it’s a medium. 6,500 people have had a go a getting up Kidstones on their bike since Strava began, personally I’ve been up at least 20 times.
Professional riders can get up Kidstones (or Cote de Cray if you will) in under 8 minutes, my best is over 10, but anything between 10-15 minutes is excellent. In fact, if you can get up Kidstones without getting off and walking, thats a good achivement in my book. I’ve certainly thought of getting off more than once. The Skipton Cycling Club record is currently held by resident whippet, Stuart Cowperthwaite at 8:11.
Evelation gain: 185m
Average gradient: 6.3%