I found this interesting blog article recently…
Climbing hurts… laboured breathing, high heartrate, lactate build-up, so why do cyclists like hills so much?
Clip in, start the Garmin, off towards the bypass. Easy spinning along the wide roads, I know what’s coming, it’s 5 miles away, those 5 miles pass too quickly. Turn off towards the hill, the gilet gets unzipped and sunglasses get put up into the helmet vents, I don’t want the hassle of wiping my sweat out of them when I put them back on for the descent.
Out of the big ring and a few clicks up the cassette, take a swig from my bidon and look up at the hill. The woodland is hiding the switchbacks, it doesn’t look so bad from here… maybe it’ll be easier this time. Riding past the Logie Kirk and I click up the cassette again, I try again, there’s no more gears left, this is me from here on. I look down at my heart rate and it’s already nudging 160bpm, the steep bits are yet to come.
Into the woods, trying to stay sat as long as possible, it lasts about 25 seconds. Out of the saddle and the rear wheel slips with the first pedal revolution, the combination of damp asphalt covered in blossom leaves me desperately searching for traction. Up to the hair pin, the hill flattens off for a few metres, the 25% gradient is over. Why did it look so easy for the pro’s riding a similar gradient in Fleche Wallone? There’s another steep section to come, I’m out of the saddle again, my legs are on fire, my chest is making a terrible wheezing sound.
Also, today I was due to be off to the Lake District to ride “The Slate Stinger” (long 148 km/93 mile version, of course). Unfortunately it’s been postponed until after my Ride Across Britain, but with around 300m of climbing, that’s maybe a good thing.
After riding around the back of Blencathra, we head down Borrowdale, where I’ve spent much time in the past with the Northumbrian Mountaineering Club. Inevitably, getting out of Borrowdale means an ascent of the Honister pass (which is the ridiculous spike in the middle of the profile below).
Return is again around the top of Blencathra, by which time I’m sure I’ll be questioning my sanity. Please wish good weather on me…
Not to be put-off with the delay to this event, Graham and I are off to reccie Stage 1 of the Tour de France today! In the rain…