“Nah then wot’s this 'ere Yorkshire Lass Sportive all abat”
For you non-Yorkshire folk
“Hi please can you tell me what the Yorkshire lass sportive is all about?”
The Yorkshire Lass Sportive came about when I (Jude) was taking part in a sportive in Anglesey with a group of friends, including my hubby Ian. Some of you may have been rescued by Ian at one of the Yorkshire Lass Sportives over the last 4 years or seen him at the start line. Ian is responsible for making sure participants don’t get lost by organising the signage for the event and also going on a one-man mission to eat as many cakes as he can.
Back to Anglesey 2015, we all set off to ride the 100 mile route on the sportive, we took the decision to turn right and do the 100 mile route instead of the 60 mile route, (very nearly had a change of heart) anyway half a mile down the road the heavens opened and we had gale force winds, rain and hailstones. It turns out Anglesey has its own micro climate. Note to self - check these things before you sign up. We battled on, sheltering in bus stops where possible and mending punctures in torrential rain, arriving at feed stations to find that there was not enough food left. We finally made it through the finish line with still about another 30 people behind us, only to find them PACKING IT AWAY!!!! 100 wet soggy miles and what did I get - a slate coaster!!! "Where is the bling and goody bag I asked? B##### cycled 100 miles for a sodding slate coaster”
"I could organise a sportive better myself!" I exclaimed, that was it the wheels were in motion and the cogs in my brain were whirring away.
We had only just set up a ladies cycling club in 2015, “The Yorkshire Lass cycling club” hence the name the Yorkshire Lass Sportive. So, with a new club and lots of willing members volunteering themselves and their families to help, we set about organising our 1st club sportive, not a task taken on by many clubs - I now know why!!!
I approached a well known sportive events company and picked their brains about it. My first question was how much will it cost to run one, their answer about £8000, what is your budget they asked. Big gulp and a nervous laugh, what budget we don’t have one!!! As in none, zilch, zero money until entries come in. It turns out we have some amazing ladies in our club, we managed to beg borrow and steal (didn’t really steal anything, only joking!)
All Terrain cycles were our biggest supporters in the 1st couple of years and have continued to help, by sponsoring signage, getting press coverage, supplying mechanics, a start / finish line arch and lots of other things.
As we are Yorkshire lasses and grafters, we went one step further that sets us apart from some of the other sportive, s and decided to organise a pasta party and camping the night before too with guest speakers and fundraising games.
The ethos of the sportive has always been for it to be supportive and inclusive of every lass that enters by keeping it friendly and making sure the routes were achievable for people’s level of fitness. We have always had 3 routes 30, 60 & 100 miles, so something for everyone (As long as you own a bike, electric ones allowed too). We have learnt as we have gone along and tweaked things that needed tweaking and left things that work well - if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! The Yorkshire Lass sportive has always maintained a lovely friendly atmosphere and we have always tried to keep a Yorkshire theme going, we even give the routes some "reet" Yorkshire names too.
The main thing too is that the FINISH LINE IS NOT PACKED AWAY UNTIL THE LAST LASS IS OVER IT. That way everyone gets the same experience, and you get a bit of bling too, all our riders get a medal to celebrate crossing the finish line.
Over the last four years we have supported some amazing charities and highlighted the work they do. We always support three ladies cancer charities, Breast cancer care (Breast cancer now), Ovarian cancer action & Jo’s cervical trust, over the last 3 years we also added Yorkshire air ambulance, PSPA, British heart foundation and Carlton Lodge Bursary fund.
Carlton Lodge is also our sportive HQ, they kindly let us use the buildings and grounds for free for the event weekend. We have been very fortunate that a lot of companies and local businesses have put their faith in us and donated lots of things we need for the event, as well as their premises for a feed station. This has enabled us to raise £84,300 so far.
The event is only as fantastic as it because of our wonderful volunteers who give their time tirelessly, the Cycling clubs that support us every year, and of course our brilliant club members and families.
We have seen a couple of changes over the last year, I have now been joined by Jane Jones and Fiona Burrell on the day to day jobs of running a sportive. We have a very good team of main helpers too, who make it a lot easier by organising their own teams and keeping us on track. Jane is the poor lass who is tasked with answering all your emails because we have postponed the 2020 event. Fiona was thrown into her new role last year, learning the ropes in a couple of weeks - she passed so we are keeping her for a bit!
You may also have noticed a change with the Club side of it too. In September 2019 there was a split in the Yorkshire Lass cycling club. I am now Vice Chair of Yorkshire Cogs & Roses CC. It is a new club but with a lot of familiar faces approx. 90 of them were Yorkshire lasses.
Yorkshire Cogs & Roses CC will be working in partnership with Yorkshire Lass Sportive in 2021 and together we will be making sure 2021 event is the best yet.
We have also started rebranding items for the sportive too. You may have noticed the new logo on the lovely sweatshirts that Cycle Clothing have available to purchase (the link is on the website if you haven't bought yours yet).
So basically, it’s the same sportive, same name, same location, and same lasses but with new kit, we will always be Yorkshire lasses though, even though some of us are from all over England.
As if that isn’t confusing enough, we have had to postpone our 2020 event until 2021 due to Covid-19, we thought this was our only option, so it is not putting pressure on our sponsors, volunteers and entrants time and finances. We also appreciate training and fundraising would be very hard for everyone.
We can’t wait to see you all again in 2021 for one of the best Ladies events in Yorkshire.
Jude and the YLS team xx