The TORQ Trail

The TORQ Trail concept was conceived back in May 2013 and we’re now taking the next steps towards establishing the official route. Once this Trail has officially been set in stone, it can then be presented as the ‘must do’ challenge for off road cyclists and runners. Something to test their endurance and leave a legacy of spiritual enlightenment and feelings of wonderfulness for years to come.

Some of you may have read about the ‘TORQ Challenge’ back in May 2013, when the green shoots were emerging. Since then, we have moved things on and over a 5 day period (starting this Friday), 3 of us will be riding the refined version of the TORQ Trail as a final reconnoitre before we let you guys loose on it!

If you’re interested in the birth of this project, please take a look at the following archive articles:  

Credit for the creation of the TORQ Trail has to go to TORQ MTB team rider Lydia Gould, who not only reconnoitred the entire route solo back in 2013, but has also spent hours of her time refining and removing the ‘bad bits,’ so that we are now at a point where the whole route should be reasonably pleasantly navigable.

The off-road TORQ Trail starts in TORQ’s back garden in Eastridge Woods, Shropshire – home of the European XC Championships back in the 1990’s and runs over the Stiperstones National Nature Reserve, across the Long Mynd and down the National Trust’s Cardingmill Valley into Church Stretton. From there, it runs along Wenlock Edge and winds its way over to Cannock Chase and Stage 1 (Day 1) finishes near Uttoxeter in Staffordshire. Quite a day’s exercise eh?

Stage/Day 2 leaves Uttoxeter and heads for the Peak District and the stage finishes in the beautiful settlement of Castleton – towards the top of the Peak District National Park.

Stage 3 works its way across the North of the Peak District and into Pennine territory, finishing at the home of Singletrack Magazine in Todmorden.

Stage 4 initially follows the Pennine Bridleway and then makes its way across the Yorkshire Dales National Park, popping out to the North East of it at the village of Kettlewell to complete the day.

Stage 5 then (the final stage), we’re expecting to be relatively straight forward, because although it crosses most of the Yorkshire Moors, we’ve got all day to do it. The TORQ Trail then finishes in the beautiful village of Rosedale Abbey, towards the East of the North York Moors National Park.

Why are we doing this? Quite simply, TORQ’s heritage is Mountain Biking and the sport has evolved beyond all recognition over the years and we feel that this is the kind of challenge that will motivate Mountain Bikers for all the right reasons for years to come. We wanted to create something that wasn’t a product, but an experience that people can share. It’s a BIG challenge for sure, but it’s also a journey that crosses some of the most spectacular terrain that England has to offer (it takes in 3 National Parks, a National Trust property, Nature Reserves and various other areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty).

Once we’ve finalised the route (after this trip), we will publish it on this website. Any of you will be free to download the GPX file and follow the same route as we did and you can take as long as you want to do it. You could cover the route in 5 days like we’re going to – and stop at the same places, or you can take more or less time to cover the distance – it’s up to you. You could even ride sections of the TORQ Trail over a number of weekends? We’re cycling the route and that was always the original intention, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t run it? We’re going to publish the route and see where it takes us, because we’d love to think that people other than cyclists are going to enjoy this trail too.

The TORQ Trail Challenge

As well as being Mountain Bikers, our Heritage is also as much about racing and performance, so there is another way that you could tackle the TORQ Trail in future – other than just simply riding and experiencing it. Once the route is published, you can contact HQ and book in to “officially” Ride The Route over 5 stages. You will need to forward us your GPX file as evidence of your stage times. When you’ve completed the challenge, we will publish your official time (once verified) and you will be logged onto the TORQ’s Hall of Fame list forever! We’ll disclose more details about this later, but I’m sure the first to set ‘official times’ in 2016 will be myself, Lydia Gould and Richard Mills, the 3 intrepid explorers, who are setting off this Friday.

In the meantime, you can track our progress on Twitter at @TORQfitness, as we’ll be giving you regular updates as we cross the country. We leave Eastridge early on Friday 12th June and finish in Rosedale Abbey on Tuesday 16th June, hopefully!

We’ll let you know how we get on.