The Maillot Jaune will run on the 6th September out of Cobham, Surrey.
There is a little over a month left to register for the Maillot Jaune, the first Yellow Jersey Cyclo-Sportive. A challenging ride designed by the Yellow Jersey team, mixing some of the most popular and some of the lesser know routes of our local patch on the Surrey Hills.
We are very happy to be bringing along some pro mountain bike riders from Mountain Trax Vauxhall, a team we have been working with throughout the year. Mountain Trax have been posting some fantastic results in both junior and senior level competition throughout the season, and we are lucky enough to be racing in the same event as some of the team –albeit a long way behind- at next week’s Brighton Big Dog.
While more used to Welsh Mountains, single track, and flinging themselves down rocky slopes at alarming speeds, rather than nice quiet Surrey roads, the team are all hard as nails and no doubt will be pushing the front riders the whole way round the course.
Over the weekend, we carried out a final recce of the course; finalising some of the details, building a picture of how our favourite climbs and lanes will knit together, how tough the ride is likely to be, and double checked our logistics for the day. Our feed station has moved ever so slightly, to a wide safe spot with plenty of room for mountains of Yellow Jersey flapjacks, drinks and a verity of homemade treats. We have also amended the route slightly, reducing the course length from an almost spot on 100k down to just over 90, to make sure every kilometre will be as engaging and challenging as possible.
Apart from crossing a duel carriageway at two points, the ride has been designed to follow the unbeaten track, taking in the area of outstanding natural beauty from some of the quietest, most out of the way roads surrounding Dorking. Expect narrow twisting lanes; through woodland, alongside open country, and spectacular unspoiled views of Surrey, which may or may not be enough to distract you from what is a significant amount of climbing.
For everybody who missed out on a golden ticket to the Ride 100, and for everybody feeling like it passed too quickly, the Maillot Jaune has been constructed to take in aspects of the Olympic route, notably its ascent of Leith Hill. We will be climbing from South to North, as has become the ‘usual way’ for riders in the area. This will allow riders to tackle the steep, narrow and challenging climb, testing legs all the way to the top of the highest point in Surrey, before rewarding riders with the wide flowing decent down the nice quality road surface on the Northern side.
The real highlight however will come about 10 kilometres later, just enough time to rest your legs before we send them back up Whitedown Lane. A hill for local tough nuts, Whitedown takes riders over Dunley Hill via the pretty woodland of Ranmore Common, winding over a difficult surface with mountain bikers crossing the road at points as they race the single tracks that surround it. Too narrow, and perhaps too tough for larger scale events, and certainly too enclosed for televised races, Whitedown Lane will take riders up 113 meters of incline over 1.9 kilometres of riding. Beginning with a pleasant 4-5% incline, the lane takes a tricky left hand dogs leg before the final ascent, at which point it ramps up to a testing 18%, maxing out for a short distance at a slightly ridiculous 21, before finally relenting into 200 meters of decent all the way back into Cobham for the end of the loop. For the KOM hunters, and those in the YJ Stava club, we have been careful to insure the Maillot Jaune route covers the full length of the heavily contested segment for the hill. Best of luck though, the record is currently held by Edmund Bradbury, a time trial specialist riding with NFTO Pro Cycling who completed the climb in 4:35.
You can take a look at the finalised course below, including notes for some of the trickier sections, and things to look out for on route. We will keep the map updated with interesting comments during the next month leading up to the ride. The Maillot Jaune will run on the 6th September out of Cobham, Surrey.