For Angus, what started out as a ride to test fitness and kit, turned into an epic win and FKT with the Mason RAW.

For the past couple of years, I have been watching the Dales Divide grow from a small event with only a few entries to one of the most exciting races in the UK. It truly is a special bike race and I would recommend the route to anyone.

The Dales Divide is a bike-packing race across the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks, routed via 600km of gravel tracks, bridleways, and some quiet lanes. Riders challenge themselves to finish as fast as they can, with no support.

Read on for highlights of Angus’ race report, or read the full race report and refections here.

My main goal for the weekend was to test out both my legs as well as some kit before the HT550 in 6 weeks' time. I told myself that the result didn't really matter as long as I put together a clean race. It was due to be the first time that I was going to race on the Mason RAW and I was fine tuning things.
I only really got about 3 hours sleep before it was time to make my way over to the start. The atmosphere was buzzing and after a few choice words from some inspiring people we were off.

The first 50km or so were hilly but the terrain was fast and on the first extended climb of the day caught sight of Chris up the hill and Harry not too far behind him. Before long, I passed Harry nursing his gravel bike through the babies heads. That was the last I saw of anyone for about 15 hours.

I kept tapping away until I made it to York 220km into the route at around 1930. From York darkness started to hit and the next section of the course was fairly flat and relatively uninteresting so I put some music on and settled into a rhythm and before I knew it I was through Driffield and approaching Scarborough.

I had ensured that I had enough food when I left York to last at least 15-16 hours, this meant that I could forgo the kebab shops and petrol stations of Scarborough and pass straight through. Relatively awake I left town just before 0200. Now was the time to start racing so I start to turn the screw a little bit and keep my heart rate up as I climbed onto the North York Moors.

Some of the riding across the Moors was the highlight of the route for me; miles of flowing technical single track separated by punchy climbs really let the RAW shine and I found myself more than once grinning ear to ear and pushing it on the descents. I had planned to stop at Northallerton 460km in but after making good time I still had plenty of food and water so I decided that I would push on another 25km or so to Catterick.

Eating on the move I began the steady climb up into the Dales. Before long I descended into Askrigg and then began the long climb up the Cam High Road, a dead straight Roman road that gains 400m of elevation over 10km. From the summit, I knew that I had one more serious climb before “it was all downhill”. From here I knew that it was my race to lose so I kept it easy and tried to ride conservatively.

Long story short the last 50km were not all downhill there were a few nasty pinches in there but I made good time and rolled onto the pier at Arneside at 1943 giving me a total time of 35 hours and 43 minutes taking just over 4 hours off James’s time.

Read on for highlights of Angus’ race report, or read the full race report and refections here.