Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Hill no 90 - 90 Horseshoe Pass

We had driven up Horseshoe Pass on the way to our cottage near Ruthin at the start of our holiday, so I kind of knew what to expect - a long climb, that never seemed TOO backbreaking, but was, well, long with one massive hairpin in it and some incredible views.

Getting onto the bike, I was a bit gutted that the sun wasn't quite out to the extent that it had been when we met Ruthin - but when you have absolutely still, mild days with no rain, you cannot complain at all!
As Simon says - there are 3 miles to the summit and its all uphill - but to be totally honest, it is more the length than the steepness that hurts you here - there is a sign saying 20%, but I don't think that I noticed it getting up to more than 12 or 13% at any time - most of the climb is at 7% or around there and it is a fairly constant hill that allows you to get in a bit of a rhythm.

Basically, it is a lot easier on these climbs if you can find a cadence (speed of revolving the cranks) that you are happy with and that you can keep going without thinking too much about it. It all becomes a bit mindless, you just let your body take over and you can concentrate on the important tasks of breathing and not falling off!
After you have been going for a while, you can see the climb on the other side of the horseshoe bend round and that it is a good target to aim for - although it all seems a very long way away! The view down into the valley is pretty good - I think it was a ruined abbey down there, although I apologise if it has been in fact lovingly restored - my vision was a little bit blurred!

The climbing around the bend of the horseshoe is probably the steepest bit of the climb, but that passes pretty quickly as you bend round, checking out what is ahead of you and also taking cheeky peaks back down the valley to see the road that you have ridden up.
As you exit the end of the bend of the horseshoe, there is quite nicely, a little bit of a downhill that allows you to catch your breath and get ready for the final leg. Trying not to veer into the middle of the road as you crane your neck to look back down the valley and see the lovely sight of the places you've just ridden past.

At the peak, there is a little car park just after the road sign saying how high the pass is and a cafe on the other side. It is a little disappointing that you're not right at the top of the hill, but actually - that was enough climbing for me thank you very much!

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