Well, we had no option but to drive down this one before getting back up it on the bike - if only because there was a big warning sign at the top of the climb warning all cyclists to dismount before going down the hill. I thought that this was probably a bit of overkill, but looking at the views as we went down the hill, I was pretty apprehensive about coming back up the hill.
To put it into perspective, Simon Warren had talked about snapping his chain not once, but twice on this hill trying to conquer it. To me that says two things. Mr Warren should replace his chain more often(!) and also that the power required to get you up the blinking thing was probably pretty large!
The "usual" warning signs are ramped up here - 1 in 3 slope, avoid in coaches, heavy goods vehicles, anything bigger than a white van, do not ride in winter, or unless the sun is shining!
The hill starts innocuously enough - a nice gentle slope at about 10% initially, rising to about 15% as you pass a pub on the left. Advice has been to get off at this point and have a drink before continuing up the hill - but that would be "cheating" and my Garmin wouldn't allow for it! I was already out of the saddle at this point.
The signs advising me to "engage a low gear" were not needed as I was already in my lowest gear - I was going to have to grind this one out.
You then head over a cattle grid and things change for the worse. For about 600m, life gets very, very tricky indeed. Basically the hill is massively steep, with hairpin turns where the gradient is whatever adjective comes after "massively". Probably massively +1.
I had an incredibly nasty shock when it felt as though someone had dragged my back wheel away - I think that I put it on top of a stone and when the stone spat away, my wheel span as well. That was the last thing I needed to do as I had front wheel lift and my legs were aching already!
The gradient here on these slopes apparently gets up to 33% - I have no idea of course because my eyes were firmly set on the slope in front of me, worried that if I looked down then I too would topple over! It is hard with the gradients, because the temptation is to run "wide" on these, using the width of the road to make the climb easier.
The road was so steep that at one point I sat down for a "rest". The gradient at that point was 26%! Watching the video back, I appear to be going agonisingly slowly. I think that is probably a good reflection of things.
Thankfully once that bit was over and done with, the hill got "better" at only about 15% and I did my best to spin up it with my legs still in a bit of shock at what they had to do. Got a couple of quizzical looks from the sheep as well who obviously thought I was some sort of lunatic as I was grunting and groaning up the hill.
A mis-timed sprint finish meant I had to grit my teeth and go for a little bit longer - but it was a real feeling of "phew" when I did finally get to the top!
Nice at the top as well, a couple out for a walk gave me a bit of a cheer - thank you very much - appreciate it!
Garmin here: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/160118746
Flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/100hillsforgeorge/sets/72157629324059176/
Youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=350IpXfLYi8&list=UU_-Huk3Gbwz9QNbiVD1X_jw&index=5&feature=plcp