Pillar’s Guide to the
Otley Sportive

Riding True’s Otley Sportive this summer? Pillar has all the info you’ll need, plus tailored training plans for this event.
Riding the
True Otley Sportive

Starting up in West Yorkshire, the Otley sportive is True Events’ first and original sportive. The loop is a scenic traverse of the Yorkshire dales, including some big climbs but mainly featuring gentle and rolling hills.

Long Route
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Medium Route
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About the ride

The Otley Sportive started in 2010 as an event catering for seasoned riders to beginners. There are two routes, shorter and longer, to help cater to all levels of cyclist.

Both routes begin on the same road, but split off around the area of Ripley. The medium length route sets out in a cut North-West across the Yorkshire Dales and arrives at Appletreewick, whereas the long route heads in a large northbound loop through the dales, hitting the towns of Masham and Lofthouse, before heading back down south and re-joining the medium route to the finish line. The routes both end back at the start line by Otley Town Football Club.

The Otley Sportive 2021 takes place on Sunday 12 September, and the fun begins at 9am.
The day includes multiple feed-stations, mechanical support, post-ride cake and coffee, and a goodie bag. 

Entry to the Otley Sportive is £15 plus a £1 fee if you register online, or £20 for entry on the day. You can enter online here

STORIES
The True Otley Sportive ridden by a real athlete
Michael’s review of the Otley Sportive course

Starting in the quiet market town of Otley, within 5 minutes you’re out of the town and into country lanes. The first 30 minutes of the ride features a handful of short kickers to get the heart pumping and warm up your legs for the challenges to come. The country lanes do have a few patches of loose gravel, so bringing a well packed saddle bag with tubes and tyre levers is a must.

“The first half of the route may not throw up any daunting challenges itself, it could be the period that makes it a memorable day out for the wrong reasons!”

The first half of the route is characterised by two defining features: short sharp climbs, that put just a little bit of a burn into your legs, and an endless string of country lanes and quiet villages. The roads and scenery are fantastic but are nothing compared to what you will experience in the second half.

The second half of the route features two challenging climbs: Trapping Hill and Greenhow Hill, with the latter being a tough climb for even the most accomplished cyclists. Trapping Hill is a challenging climb, peaking out at 13% in the first half, before a period of flat and short downhill. The downhill allows you to pick up some well-needed speed before a final steep climb to the crest. The final kilometer peaks out at a savage 19% for a brief period, before easing off towards the peak. And when you reach the top and get your breath back, it all becomes worth it. You’re greeted with a sensational view of the Yorkshire Dales and suddenly remember just why you love cycling!

“Reaching the foot of Greenhow Hill and still feeling strong should be a key goal for all riders.”

You then begin your descent down into Lofthouse and start heading towards Pateley Bridge. The descent to Lofthouse begins quite fast, but take care as the road narrows quickly, with a handful of tight and steep turns. After the descent, the rolling road meanders along a beautiful reservoir, giving you an opportunity to refuel and rehydrate ahead of the final major challenge. Reaching the foot of Greenhow Hill and still feeling strong should be a key goal for all riders. Arrive at the foot of the climb having neglected your fueling and you will suffer! The climb rises sharply several times with a few periods of brief respite but peaking at a gradient of 23% right at the start, and averaging 9% over 2.5km, it’s a tough climb! For those of you who fancy racing the pros, riders in the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire summited the climb in as a little as 7.5 minutes!

Once again, you reach the summit, and you reap the rewards! More breathtaking views of the Yorkshire Dales! You begin your descent and start heading down towards Bolton Abbey, Ilkley and eventually Otley. The final 30km once again feature a generous handful of short snappy kickers, to sap the remaining energy out of your legs. The ride finishes along a beautiful quiet ‘back-road’ between Ilkley and Otley. I used to call this road “my favourite road in the UK” but, honestly, after riding this route, any one of the roads could easily be my favourite!

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The Pillar app gives you a personalised training plan based on your fitness, your goals & your availability, which dynamically updates over timeBased on cutting edge sports science,

Pillar takes a holistic approach to your endurance training—including nutrition, rest, and rehabilitation.