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Climb Your Way to Rapha Tempest

Storm up some of England’s most famous ascents and win tickets.

Guest post by Max Leonard.

One of the world’s greatest cycling races, the Tour de France, will be sweeping into England in July, and Strava will be celebrating by joining Rapha at Tempest Festival in Yorkshire.

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Rapha, the clothing supplier to Team Sky and current Tour de France champion, Chris Froome, has organized a four-day extravaganza of cycling at Broughton Hall, a picturesque stately home close to stages 1 and 2 of the Tour. From the 3rd–6th of July there will be big screens, bands and DJs, a rider recovery zone and both Tour stages are within half an hours cycling of the Tempest grounds. As part of the feast of cycling culture, Strava will be there with guided rides, coffee, segment challenges and prizes, and a tent with free Wi-fi, so you can upload your rides on site. There are more special events to be announced soon…

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We want Strava enthusiasts to attend in force, so we’ve teamed up with Rapha to give some of you the chance to join us for free. We have several pairs of tickets to give away and, seeing as we know you like a Challenge, we thought we’d run some on England’s most popular hill segments.

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The Challenge period will run from Saturday the 19th of April to Sunday the 1st of June, and the fastest male and female cyclists up each climb during that time will win a pair of tickets to Rapha Tempest festival. Additionally, the cyclist that completes the most individual ascents on each Challenge will also win a pair of tickets. The six testing grounds we’ve selected are:

Box Hill

Fresh from its starring role at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Box Hill is perhaps the UK’s most famous climb and one of Strava’s most popular segments. The Surrey hill is not the hardest our country has to offer, but the zig-zag route climbs at an average gradient of 5% for 2.5 kilometres. Take on the Box Hill Segment Challenge.

Buttertubs Pass

Yorkshire’s giant Buttertubs Pass features on stage 1 of Le Tour itself. Test your legs on the same southern approach that the pros will ride come July, gaining 287m in height over 4.4km. Take on the Buttertubs Pass Segment Challenge.

The Brickworks

The Brickworks is a delicious ribbon of tarmac climbing through a narrow river valley, from the relative flats of Cheshire towards the hills of the Peak District. From the village of Pott Shrigley it rises 151m, at an average grade of 6%. Take on the Brickworks Segment Challenge.

Cheddar Gorge

Cheddar Gorge is cut deep into the Mendip Hills in Somerset, taking riders from the village of Cheddar through towering rock faces to the hilltop meadows above. From bottom to top the gradient gradually eases, averaging 4% over 5.1km. Take on the Cheddar Gorge Segment Challenge. 

Hardknott Pass

Arguably the toughest climb in England, the road to Hardknott Pass was first built by the Romans and kicks up to 30% on some of its brutal switchbacks. In only 2.6km it rises 315m. Not for the faint hearted. Take on the Hardknott Pass Segment Challenge.

Ditchling Beacon

The snaking bends of Ditchling Beacon are a well-known sting in the tail on the popular London-to-Brighton spin. It featured in Le Tour in 1994 and will also be in this year’s Tour of Britain. 133m of climbing in just over 1.5km mean that the Beacon has a not-to-be-underestimated 9% average gradient. Take on the Ditchling Beacon Segment Challenge.

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You can join as many of these challenges as you like; the more times you ride, the stronger you’ll get and the faster you’ll go – and, who knows, you may win the Tempest prize for the most ascents of your local hill.

However, if you want to guarantee yourself a place at the festival then head to the Rapha Tempest website, where you’ll also learn more about the full line up of attractions on offer around the Grand Départ of this year’s Tour de France.

Hit the road and let us know how it goes, share photos and stories with the hashtag #RaphaTempest.