More women are wanted to take part in one of the north’s most gruelling cycling challenges, which is set to hit the region’s roads next month.

Organiser of Colne Valley Mountain Bike Challenge, Jonathon Brook, said that he hopes they will join hundreds of others at the race on May 11 as cycling fever mounts ahead of the Yorkshire leg of the Tour de France.

He has created a new shorter 20-mile route that will run in addition to the 30-mile on and off-road circuit to encourage more participation in the event, which he said has been dominated by men since it was set up.

The event, which raises money for Leymoor Cricket Club and 39th Parkwood Scouts, Longwood, attracts around 300 people each year who battle steep hills and mud in the breathtaking surroundings of the valley and peak district.

Jonathan said that the new route will allow riders to travel back from Slaithwaite on a flatter route and cut out some of the most difficult stretches such as Pule Hill, Wessenden, Deer Hill, Meltham, Blackmoorfoot, Linfit, Wellhouse and Bolster Moor.

Both will start at Parkwood Methodist Church and finish at Leymoor Cricket Club.

He said that he hopes the race will encourage more people into the sport, which is expected to enjoy a renaissance in the county this summer and will celebrate its 11th year since it was set up in 2004.

Jonathan said: “I hope that the combination of increased interest in cycling due to the Tour de France and other cycling events and this new shorter route will encourage more people to come give the race a go.

“We would welcome any new riders and hope that some more women take part because it’s definitely not just a race for men.

“We’ve got no limits on how many people can take part as the event will be well marshalled and I just think that it’s a fantastic opportunity for everyone to get fit whilst making the most of our breathtaking scenery.

“The race also raises vital amounts of money for the cricket club and scout group to ensure they can continue to run.”

To register for the race and to view the cycle route, visit:

Entry costs £17 in advance and £22 on the day.

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