Our popular 31-mile mountain bike challenge is back for 2020!
Starting and finishing at Trek Sheffield in Stocksbridge, we’ll be following the same route as previous years. Riders will head towards Langsett before tackling the technical terrain over Cut Gate and then dropping down the adrenaline fuelled descent into the Derwent Valley.
From here, the route climbs back up to Whinstone Lee Tor and onto the superb flowing bridleway down to the feed station at Cutthroat Bridge. The return to Stocksbridge is then on quiet roads and lesser known bridleways around Strines, but watch out for the final sting in the tail!
Typical entrants range from the experienced mountain biker wanting to challenge themselves with a speedy circuit, to those looking for a fun day out with friends. You have around 20 weeks from when entries open to the event itself, so plenty of time to get yourself into shape for the big hills and technical descents 😉
There are 150 places available on the event, the same number as last year. All our 2019 places had sold out by the start of June, so we recommend you grab your place early to avoid disappointment.
“Another great event and well organised. Thanks again to everyone who makes it possible and organising it. Absolutely loved it!”
The third Steel Valley Ride mountain bike event took place at the weekend and what a day!
With all 150 places on the event selling out by early June, the stoke was high this year. Leading up to the big day, our social media was full of comments from people training and getting ready for the ride.
Registration on the day opened at 9am but with enthusiastic riders arriving much earlier we decided to open at 8.15am to help get people through the process. With the first rider briefing scheduled for 9am, it meant a little waiting around afterwards, but luckily the sun was shining!
Once rider registration had closed and the event sweeper was on his way, it was time for the team to drive to Cut Throat Bridge to set up the feed station (mile 18). Back at event HQ, Andy (manager at Trek Sheffield), drew the winner for a pair of Bontrager Flat Line shoes which had been kindly donated by Trek Sheffield for the first 50 entrants. Congratulations go to Kevin Hilton who had a nice surprise on his return.
By the time riders started arriving at the feed station, the weather had changed and there were reports of strong winds and horizontal rain high on the moors around Cut Gate. Luckily, the weather improved and with the fun descent of Whinstone Lee Tor leading into the feed station, there were lots of smiles on arrival.
After the feed station, the route covers quiet country roads and bridleways around Strines to weave back towards Stocksbridge. However, an unexpected last minute diversion was required when our marshal encountered a burning car in the middle of the road.
His quick thinking meant that the fire brigade were soon on the scene and the route was diverted to avoid the obstacle. If you wondered why your GPS was showing you off-route around Broomhead reservoir, that was the reason!
Around 3 hours after the first riders had left, we started seeing people arrive back at event HQ. As people leave at different times over a 1 hour period, there are no prizes for being the first back. All riders are winners, walking away with a free Trek water bottle!
Thanks to our event partners and volunteers
We run this event to highlight awareness of our charity and to raise valuable funds to support our countryside management work in the area. For our small team of Steel Valley Project employees, it’s lots of work but also hugely enjoyable and rewarding.
However, an event of this nature simply could not take place without the support and goodwill of our event partners and volunteer marshals.
Massive thanks goes to Trek Sheffield in Fox Valley Stocksbridge, who once again gave up part of their workshop area for our event HQ, supplied limitless cuppas for our event team and donated a free water bottle for every rider on their return. Their behind the scenes support for this event must also be recognised, they really do help us to put on a great day.
Our volunteer marshals are also integral to the event. Without them, we would not have the resources for people to be stationed at key points on the route or to help at the feed station – so a big round of applause for anyone who gave up their Saturday to get involved 👏
Special thanks must go to Ride Holme mountain bike guide, our route sweeper for the second year running. Jason, otherwise calling himself the ‘grim sweeper’ for this event, provided morale support for anyone riding at the back and also collected all the route signs/any litter, ensuring that nothing was left behind in the countryside. He rode the full 31 miles, but the nature of a sweeper means carrying more weight and spending longer on the route than anybody else!
“Thank you to all involved in organising such a good event, well signposted and great marshals.”
It was also great to get event photographers SportSunday involved for the second year running. Their images of riders coming down Whinstone Lee Tor will give anyone entering the event a great reminder of the day and the opportunity to own a professional picture riding their bike. In case you missed it, event pictures can be found via this link here.
We’d also like to give thanks to everyone who shared details of the event on their social media, helping 2019 to be the first year that the event sold out.
What did the event participants think about the day?
We received tons of fantastic comments from riders on the day, plus via social media after the event. Whilst there are too many to list, hearing and seeing each one makes our efforts worthwhile, so thank you!
“Awesome day. Thanks to all involved.”
“Really enjoyed it! Same again next year.”
“Thanks guys. It was a top event as usual.”
“Cracking ride. Loved it!”
“Cracking day out on the MTB at the Steel Valley Ride.”
“Cracking riding up over Cut Gate on the Steel Valley Ride. Great event too.”
“Great event, thanks to all the volunteers.”
“Another great edition of the Steel Valley Ride yesterday. Thanks to all the Steel Valley Project organisers and all the marshals who endured on a day of all weathers. Roll on next year!”
“Great day riding with the Steel Valley Project ride.”
“Top ride on one of my favourite routes.”
“Easily the toughest ride I’ve done, brutal climbs, amazing descents, great company and some crazy weather. Had a fantastic time today, thanks Steel Valley Project.”
“Great event, enjoyed it.”
“Good event, thanks to all involved.”
“We really enjoyed the event and will definitely do it again. Thanks to you and the team.”
“Great event organised by the Steel Valley Project.”
It’s also worth noting that a Peak District National Park Ranger commented on how polite and courteous everybody was.
Finally, we’d like to thank everyone who entered the Steel Valley Ride, supporting our work. Particular thanks go to those people who took the time and trouble to set up event sponsorship pages to help raise more money for our charity.
Staying in touch…
If you missed out on a ticket this year and want to be kept in the loop for any future events, keep an eye on this website and our social media pages:
With just a few days to go until the 2019 Steel Valley Ride, the final preparations are well underway.
Event Information Packs were emailed out to all riders last week, but if you’ve mislaid your email, you can download a copy by clicking on this link: Event Information Pack 2019.docx
Please arrive with plenty of time to spare on Saturday morning as we have a lot of riders to get through the registration process.
Event photographers SportSunday Event Photography will be taking pictures around mile 18, on a fast downhill section (Whinstone Lee Tor) as you descend towards the feed station. Get your smile ready for the camera 😎📷
The pictures will be available to view on their website from Sunday afternoon/evening.
This 31 mile mountain biking fundraiser will follow the same route as previous years, starting and finishing in Stocksbridge.
Riders will head towards Langsett and then tackle the technical terrain over Cut Gate before dropping down the adrenaline fuelled descent into the Derwent Valley. From here, the route climbs back up to Whinstone Lee Tor where riders get to enjoy the superb flowing bridleway down to Cutthroat Bridge. The return to Stocksbridge is then on quiet roads and lesser known bridleways around Strines – watch out for the final sting in the tail.
The Steel Valley Ride has taken place, the riders have completed their 31 mile challenge and the event signs have been collected in.
All that remains now is for us to tell you a little more about the day and how much money you helped to raise.
On the day…
Firstly, massive thanks must go to Trek Sheffield who gave up part of their shop on Saturday to host our Event HQ. They made us feel welcome with day-long access to tea and the Mountain Biking World Cup Downhill event streaming on tv!
Just under 90 riders completed the gruelling Steel Valley Ride in sunny conditions and soaring temperatures.
Some finished in an impressive 3-4 hours, whereas others made use of the whole day. Everybody deserves massive congratulations for fulfilling their own challenge whether it was to finish quickly – or just finish, push their daily mileage or raise money for charity.
However, a special mention must go to one lady who entered on her own after stopping smoking and starting mountain biking only 5 months before completing the Steel Valley Ride. She dug deep during the ride and refused to give up, inspiring many people on Saturday.
Back at Event HQ, whilst the riders were out on the moors we asked Stocksbridge Mayor, Cllr Julie Grocutt, to draw the two winners for the Bontrager Flat Line shoes (donated by Trek Sheffield for the first 50 entrants) and the £50 Trek Voucher (donated by Stocksbridge Town Council for the first 100 entrants).
Congratulations go to Jonathan Lambert who won the shoes and Rachel Young who won the voucher.
However, everybody received a little something on the day as all returning riders were given a free water bottle, donated by Trek Sheffield. With such high temperatures, many waived their complementary hot drink and made use of this instead.
Big thanks to all our volunteer marshals who were located at Event HQ, around the route and at the feed station. They helped to make the event such a huge success. We received many positive comments from people about our marshals when they returned from their ride or later on social media, some of which can be read at the end of this post.
We run the Steel Valley Ride to raise awareness of the Steel Valley Project and let people know about the countryside management work we undertake in the local area. We also use the event to raise valuable funds to help us continue with ongoing projects in the area.
However, this year was extra special!
The Steel Valley Ride route goes over the iconic Cut Gate bridleway in the northern Peak District. Cut Gate is considered to be one of the best singletrack routes in the country, but has short sections of muddy bogs – known locally as the ‘Bog of Doom’ (although to be fair, the sunny conditions over recent weeks have made the BOG more of a desert).
We’re therefore pleased to announce that £468 will be going to Mend Our Mountains.
Big thanks to our event partners and supporters..
An event like this would be impossible to run without support from local businesses and people in the community. Thank you to everyone who helped us out, whether directly or indirectly through sharing our social media posts.
However, particular thanks must go to the following:
It’s just a little over 2 weeks since entries opened for the Steel Valley Ride and we’ve been amazed by the response.
The number of people who have signed up to take part is now over 50, but don’t worry if you think you’ve missed out on being part of the early entry prize draw because last week we managed to arrange another prize draw thanks to a donation from Stocksbridge Town Council.
It means that we can now offer the first 100 entries for the Steel Valley Ride the opportunity to win a £50 voucher to spend in Trek Bikes (which handily is the ride HQ, so the winner could call in after completing the challenge and treat themselves to something lovely).
If you’re still wondering whether to enter, it’s worth knowing that the overall number of places available is limited, so head over to our ENTER page soon to make sure you don’t miss out.
You might also want to read our previous post which gives 5 good reasons why we think you’ll want to get involved.