Fact file

Arnside, UK
Start Date:
Saturday, August 29, 2020 7:00 AM

Yes Rod! What a journey

Final Report of the Dales Divide 2020 with words from Captain Chris.

Last man home Super Rod at the tender age of 70!

Rod Gemmell - your dot is bouncing!!!!!! We've were watching your dot loads in awe of the the ride you are rode. You've shown us all what's best about bikepacking.

Winner Alex Pilkington said Rod is a credit to the bike-packing community sticking at it and going steady away. The route throws a a lot at you! I’m just helping the organiser collate the results now and there is a high rate of attrition for the ride - everyone is now back in one piece I think! Thanks for watching us all and for the virtual cheers

Brilliant effort, well done.

Absolute Chapeau to you all and Sir Rod


Final words;

This year the weather proved a bit harder than 2019. The trails were no longer dry and fast, and a strong wind blew for 2 days but somehow the ride was just as fantastic as last time and in some ways better. I was more than 5 hours faster this year, and would have been even fater but I wimped out on doing 8+ hours in the dark on Monday night. I take my hat off to the riders who chose to do that and make their last stretch a full 24hour riding day. Great to see such a broad spectrum of riders and the greatest kudos goes to the riders putting in the most effort, not necessarily the riders going fastest, but always the riders pushing themselves. The basis of the event is to maintain and lift UK bikepacking expertise and 2020 has certainly done that; from the few guys at the front, to those who raced til they blew up to the guy that put cardboard in his brake callipers when his pads ran out with 250k to go - and he finished with cardboard brakes working!. There were about 60/70 riders on the course with a few more riding ITT over a similar timeframe and a few starting/finishing at the East Coast. As the last riders are still getting to Arnside now, we salute them all. My own personal moment was the huge honour to have Pat Hall, Mike Hall’s mum at the start with us to see us off with a tear in her eye. The bikepack-race scene in the UK and overseas is built on the strong foundation he laid, with a mix of honesty, integrity, competition and kindness that comes with trying our hardest and celebrating success, for each other. I too shared a tear, when times were tough, energy low and having to dig deep in the early hours of the morning thinking about what he would think about our efforts and achievements. Our minds go to some far places on these rides.

Thank you all for making the Dales Divide the success it is and see you in 2021

Chris Ellison

Captain Chris arrives at Arnside!

Afew words from the Captain (Chris Ellison) himself :

First female round the whole divide

Karen Price 3d 7h 48m. rides for Team JMC

Having had to change her gear hanger near York, Karen wins the prize (a tin of lemonade from Chris!) for first female rider. Although a strong background in 24hr racing, this is the first time Karen has raced something on this scale. Her first thoughts were how difficulty the mental game is, ‘at Scarborough I just wanted to give up’ she said but with emotions high, rode for 2 more days and made it round.


Amazing Effort Karen!

Chirs finished in 3 days 5 hours and was ready to present Karen with her prize of a tin of lemonade. So was did the rigid bike compare to the mountain bike Chris? We will await his thoughts.....he's looking happy enough here!


Currently there is one rider left out there, and what a superb ride from Rod Gemmil the uber fit 70 year old trucking on at 490km mark.

Come on Rod 110km to go! Someone get an ice cream ready and waiting, dont forget the flake!




Bank Holiday, ice cream time at Arnside........for some

A glorious Bank Holiday Monday at Arnside Pier saw a wave of finshers, including Jordan Mathews in second place and Steve Chapman in third, a strong ride from both guys.

Jordan sent us some words and photos of his journey:

The bogs, fences and vertical bridleways started to wear on me slightly towards the end and I messed-up my eating slightly so had to wait over an hour in Askrigg this morning for a cafe to open.

The bike was good, (after a jet wash in a car park yesterday) and there are definitely some sections of the route I will be re-visiting in my own time.

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We should another wave today with organiser Chris Ellison and leading lady Karen Price expected to bring it home.

Lots of pictures popping up on Insta of the event :






Arnside has its first finisher........

We have our first finisher!! Current record holder Alex Pilkington completes in under 48 hours, just awaiting confirmation if he has beten his previous time of 47 hours. We caught up with Alex from the comfort of his own bath......via email!

My Brains a bit monged for words at the moment, but I’m in the bath and degunging - lucky to live not far away from Arnside.

My best bit of kit was the crud guard, they look naff, but saved my backside!

Eating is always the problem, when you are pushing hard, seemed to manage a lot better this year.

It was good to be pushed by Richard and Jordan and it meant been ‘on it’ all of day 2.

Last night was stunning, totally silent in the hills as the northerly had disappeared completely. The moon was good company as well.

Trail conditions were tougher than last year, but good to have no rain to speak of.

Also enjoyed riding the new sections that Chris had tweaked.

Pretty certain my ride time was same as last year!


Cracking race Alex in what has seen some tough conditions, very blowy with lots of sticky mud but at least the rain held off.

Its looking like Jordan Matthews and Steve Chapman will have to battle second place both separted by only 10km with 80km to go. Ricahrd Gate has called it a day and taking the road back to Arnside.

Ladies leader Karen Price has posted to not feeling great on her social, we are not sure yet whther she will be continuing or not? Emma Osenton opted to take the shorter route from York and looks like she is having a fun time from her social postings.

Race organiser Chris Ellison currently trucking away nicely at 390km, this year Chris has gone rigid so will be good to see how it compares to his mountain bike from last year.






24 hours in.....

Day one of the DD has seen a nice little battle out front with three riders jostling positions, but it seems that reigning record holder Alex Pilkington has pushed through the night as last year and opened up a 17km lead over Jordan Mathews, with Richard gate only 2km back from him, Leading lady Karen Price ripped off her rear mech in a cornfield but was lucky she had a spare hanger to repair, losing time she was aiming to pass York but ended just short so where just outside it. We have had some rider reports of very tough conditions in the boggy areas and a pretty substantial head wind to deal with.

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This year Chris has added a shorter version from York to Northallerton which reduces the route by 160km and cuts how some tough riding in the North Yorks Moors, at this point no one has opted for that option.

There have been a few scratches so far with the reasons of just not feeling it, we should find out more soon.




And they’re off...

A chilly start to the morning, saw around 80 keen bikepackers and a few late straddlers heading off on from Arnside Pier for a bank holiday weekend of fun and adventure through some of the finest countryside around. Arnside Pier

20p for a social view

Social Distant Viewing

Keep Your Distance

Jes and her group of late Straddler's

After the first 100km's there's nothing to be had with the top 10 riders who are separated by only 5km, with Karen Price leading the ladies charge.

Most rider's have now experienced the sketchy limestone and a reportedly very muddy introduction to the Yorkshire Dales, it will be interesting to see how some of the slick tyred gravel riders have found this so far.

We will keeping a close eye on the leaders with a few riders aiming to beat Alex Pilkingtons time of 47 hours last year, where or will they stop ?

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