Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Hill no 96 - 58 Carlton Bank

My final hill of today (and my third 7/10 hill in a row, with only the nerve inducing 10/10 Rosedale Chimney to go) and I actually was pleasantly surprised at how I was feeling - we had stopped and had a lovely lunch in a nice tearooms (which was also very reasonably priced), the dog had had a good run, the daughter was asleep and as I was map reading, we had managed to find the hills prettily easily (although I'm sure Em would point out that we missed the turn to Carlton Bank and had to go the "scenic route" - which to be fair was pretty scenic!)

I started the climb at Busby Hall - again, a little bit early, but it made for a good photo opportunity! There were however some pretty large stones in the road that had come out of the drive - and the condition of the road itself was pretty "iffy" - with some big gouges/pot holes in the road.
Another factor which was unexpected was the wind - the other two climbs had been in beautiful conditions - sunny, crisp, dry and still. It was a bit odd to suddenly have the wind whistling around my ears! Not that it was going to prove to be too challenging - but it shows that weather conditions can change pretty quickly.

As I started the climb proper, the gradient was jumping up over 10% - but under 15% which was just sapping the energy nicely. I had the usual moment of concentration riding over a cattle grid - a car came the other way and I did have a panic for a moment that we would meet on the grid as the driver didn't look like stopping!
I had to pick my way through the rough road surface a little bit and then it got steep - heading around to the left, I was hopping in and out of the saddle to try and get my legs spinning up the steeper slopes to get it over and done with.

The hill rose up to the right hand side to a really high peak, but on the left hand side, it just feel away, a bit like the shelf with incredible views over to Middlesbrough (I think).
The climb was getting tricky by throwing in some steep ramps of over 20%, but kindly allowing you a short break in between and dropping the gradient to around 10% briefly.

A MTBer came past halfway down the hill and he was shifting it big style - which gave me an idea of how steep it was coming down. I kept on wanting to crane my head left to get the view in, but also needed to concentrate on getting up the blinking hill!
I kept on thinking that I had got to the brow of the hill, but in fact, it seemed to be just one corner away for a while! Thankfully I go there in the end, dismounted, bunged the bike back on the car and enjoyed the thought that I only had one more "hard" hill to do in my challenge...

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