Thursday, 10 February 2011

Hill Work - NOT by Stealth!!

The plan was to get a reasonably early start and head over to Church Stretton so that I could do some 'hill reps' over Long Mynd.
I'd discovered that the climb up The Burway was included in the 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs book, and when I looked at the map, I also found that there was another decent climb on the other side of the hill which was steeper for longer, but shorter overall.
And the base of the Burway to the base of this climb over the Mynd was a few pennies over 5 miles in distance.

A plan started to form.......

My initial idea was to park at the top of the Burway, ride down and back up again 6 times - but thinking that it might get a bit tedious I decided to link the two climbs as they are on the same road - and climb them both 3 times.
This gave me a nice section in the middle which, although not entirely flat, gave my legs something else to do - and gave me a chance to practise cycling on bumpy narrow hilly roads.  Nice and event-specific :o)

I still parked at the top of the Burway, and decided to head to the 'other' climb first to warm up the legs.  

I'd forgotten how steep 25% is in descent - and was VERY cautious the first time.  Glad I've been climbing a lot though..... you need pretty robust forearms to maintain control!!
The first climb was great!  Slow!  But just a case of pedaling it out and not falling off.

[note to self - wet grass in the centre of the road doesn't give you any traction when you are climbing 1:4!!]
I met my first car on this section, which is only just wide enough for..... one car.  But I negotiated the restart and clipping back in fine!!!
The meat of that climb is 160m of uppage in about 690m of horizontal distance - and when it eases off it still climbs for another mile - just much more gently.  And I had expected a tail wind from the forecast.
There wasn't one - so I was climbing into the wind on the exposed ridge of the Mynd :o)

The descent down the Burway was much less scary!  There is better visibility (apart from when you are in the cloudbase, which came and went all morning) and although it's easy enough to get to 35mph, for the most part it is also pretty easy to control your descent.
I realised just how much easier this climb was by the fact that bottom gear wasn't actually necessary, and once the steeper section was done, the rest of the climb could be done comfortably on the middle chainring.
Yes - I have a triple!!!  I could start hurling testosterone about and use a compact or a standard double - but I'm not doing Fred Whitton just once - so I need to be able to treat my legs with some respect!!!

I really enjoyed that climb.  the 100 Climbs book gives it a 9/10, and for the views down into Cardingmill Valley alone I have to agree.  The drop off to the right is very severe though.  Not one to fall off!!

And so it continued.... I became more confident with my bike handling on the descents as the session went on - although it DID give my forearms a decent workout!
The cloudbase hugged the top of the Mynd for most of the time, and there was one surreal moment where, having climbed past a Mountainbiker, I happened across a number of mountain ponies and their foals who had chosen the road to stop for a quick cuppa!  I was a little wary of the the Boss Pony who squared up to me at one point, but I gave them plenty of space and was able to carry on my merry way!

All in all this was a good workout.  I confirmed to myself that I climb pretty well, and I'm improving at descending.  The bumpy roads might need a slightly lower tyre pressure though!!

Here is todays session

No comments:

Post a Comment