Sunday, 1 May 2011

Hill no 11 - 100 Constitution Hill, Swansea

There is some great footage on Youtube of last year's Tour of Britain with the riders coming up Constitution Hill in Swansea in the rain. Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BswlXBX6SRA you can see some of the strongest riders in the world inching up slopes in the pouring rain (including someone at 2.06 coming off of his bike (lhs of the screen)). That's reassuring then...


So it looks tough - it is a cobbled climb, it is bloody steep and it gives pro-riders a hard time. What rating does Mr Warren give it? 4/10. You nutter!

I can only assume that he gives it 4/10 because it is relatively short. But it is also steep, cobbled and nasty. There is no room to take any speed into the climb and whilst there is smooth paving to the side, Simon says that you mustn't ride it on the smooth paving - that you have to ride it on the cobbles to get the full "benefit".


For me a "hard" climb isn't a climb that leaves you drained and exhausted at the end of it, a "hard" climb is one that you are concerned that you are going to have to get off your bike and push - an ignominious way to get up a hill. Constitution Hill is the first climb in the book that I have been pretty concerned about having to "push" - when riding up the cobbles. Paving is fine, cobbles are hard. Must remember that next time I consider going out to ride Paris-Roubaix or the Tour of Flanders.


Fortunately for me, it was another cracking day in the sunshine, so I didn't have to worry about grip on the cobbles - I could just point the bike and go. Bill bailed out of this one (I think I had spoked him by showing him the above video before the ride), so no multi-coloured pants to keep me entertained.

I rode first from the place where we staying (which was a lovely ride again) - on this route: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/82074018 - a nice 23 mile ride to get my legs warm!

I then called to find out where the guys were - they hadn't arrived, so I had a quick run up the Hill using the paving: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/82074007

They then arrived, did a couple of photos and then the climb (cobbles all the way): http://connect.garmin.com/activity/82074000 I forgot to press stop on my Garmin - but Simon says 2 minutes, I did about 2 min 30.

Phew - it was a relief to get to the top I can tell you! Em, Tom, Bill, Peggy and Hobbs walked up the hill and said that was more than enough for them...


My last Welsh hill (for now - I still have 7 to do in North Wales!!!). The riding has been amazing, drivers fantastic, hills tough and the weather incredible. Before I run out of superlatives.....

Youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QyuHsB6-N0
Flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/100hillsforgeorge/sets/72157626691482771/

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