Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Hill no 89 - 92 Fford Penllech

Right - where do I start? Do I start with the amazing drive over the hills from Ruthin to Harlech. Through sun, cloud, mist, beautiful sweeping vistas, rock formations, towering hills, sheltered vales and with jinking turn after turn?

Or should I just jump to Harlech - the castle perched on an outcrop overlooking the sea, the windy road through the town and the "out of season" feel with shops closed down and buildings being renovated (presumably for the upcoming season).

Nah - really I should just get straight to the hill. Or the "you're joking, I'm not cycling up that" hill. We had a look at the hill from the top, in fact we walked down it. Basically, Simon was making me break the law as it is the wrong way up a one way street. He was also making me break the laws of gravity as the slope was not just vicious, but it was actually outrageous.

How do I describe it? Well, you start walking down it and you are leaning backwards with your knees aching from the start. It is a single track road with houses around it (living there and driving in and out must be a blinking nightmare). There is a "busy" crossroads at the top, you head down past a 40% gradient sign (I kid you not - a 40% gradient sign!!!!) and the road twists and turns all the way down. Then, right at the bottom, there is a horrendous turn with the surface all rucked up which must be the 40% sign.
Basically it is steep all the way, apart from the bits that are REALLY steep and the bits which are STUPIDLY steep.

I was getting a bit nervous about it - Mila was wanting to be fed, the dog wanted to stretch his legs and the wife thought it would be a good idea to do this before I tried to climb up the hill. I seriously thought about not having lunch as it would be unnecessary extra weight to carry up! I also took the precautions to warm up my legs a little bit before I started - there was no way I was going to try and climb up there with cold legs. Although after yesterday's overheat fest, I was somewhat ill advisedly just wearing shorts and a cycling shirt. Not the best idea.

Anyway, thankfully the climb was "relatively" short - Simon said it should take around 3minutes, but to be honest, if I was to take 3 minutes over that climb, I would have toppled over sideways because of not moving!

The first time (oh yes!) up, I got past the first scary turn and then tried to get up to the top as quickly as I could before the lactic acid built up to unsustainable levels in my legs. I wasn't helped in this mission by the nice old chap reading the sun in the middle of the road on the way done and the track stand I had to do half way up to let the 4x4 past.

Seeing as I was going up the road the wrong way, I wasn't in a position to criticise though! Having successfully completed the hill once, I stupidly decided to ride down to try again. This proved to be impossible though - riding down was just too hazardous, so I got off and pushed my bike DOWNHILL. Ridiculous. I then headed up the slope again and whilst I had a free run this time, I reached a very nasty pain/lactic acid/tiredness threshold halfway up!

Did manage to knock a whole 7 seconds off my time though!

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