Cobbles and cycling. Belgium right? The Classics of the early season calendar. Moules et frites. Passionate fans, grim weather, steep climbs. Not Halifax, England. Pie and chips, bleak post-industrial landscapes and well, cobbles, steep climbs and the desolate moorland.
This is the scene for the Ronde Van Calderdale route, a tribute to the Spring Classic races in Belgium but most definitely British. The route climbs a whopping 3,000 metres over 75 miles, many of which are up very, very steep cobbled climbs.
Not today. It’s Sunday. Rest day. No work, no nothing. Two horrible hill climb races in one day? No thanks, not for me. I awoke rested but still sleepy, my body refusing to wake as if it knew what was ahead. Eugh.
Where the hell was my inner chimp when I needed him? Any other time he’s roaring me on, daring me to ride harder, to hurt more. Only he chooses today to disappear, perhaps finally committing to his long overdue visit to the vets for some rabies inoculations. Continue reading
Climber’s cough plagues me. My lungs burn. It is six hours since I raced up Swains Lane in the brilliant Rollapaluza Urban Hill Climb race. Regrets? Sure, but only my tactics!
Hosted on my local hill, Swains Lane, a short sharp lung buster I’ve had an on-off relationship with for many a year. I’ve climbed it 94 times in 4 years, a tiny amount considering I think of this as my local hill. Why? Mentally Swains Lane has gotten into my psyche. It is the hill I think about when I talk about hill climbing, the hill I think about when I imagine pain. Lots of pain.
Drum roll please… many years in the making, I finally entered and completed a hill climb race. And yes, I loved it! What kind of animal looks forward to pain, who destroys their body in pursuit of seconds and metres gained? The hill climber. A strange beast.
I’ve always enjoyed hill climbs. There’s nothing quite like the fire in your lungs and legs near the summit of a hill and knowing you’ve still got to push on. A mental challenge as much as physical, only will power and the ability to block pain gets you through the final metres of a climb. Come on!
A warm up ride through the Brecon Beacons seemed like a good idea when sat at my laptop, not so much when sat in the saddle. It’s been a while since I last cycled in Wales, how quickly I’d forgotten the only flat roads in this land are supermarket car parks.
Hailing outside, I decided to go for a spin grind up the new Zwift Watopia mountain routes. First impressions? The graphics are stunning. From the mountain vistas and single track winding roads, to the snow and the mist, and the small details such as the cracks in the road.
You can read my full Zwift review in an earlier blog and also Zwift group rides so here’s a quick update on the new mountain routes followed by a short overview of each of the new climbs.
Hello, my name is Human Cyclist and I am a cycle training addict. I enjoy abusing my body nearly every day. I cannot get enough. Be it the highs of climbing repeats, the adrenaline of power intervals or the rush of speed intervals.
Tired of the regular Sunday ride, I recently turned to the dark side of cycling to follow a proper training plan. No more cycling as I please, where I wanted, when I wanted. Now I truly was at the mercy of my addiction. What can I say? It’s a love-hate thing.
Want to climb one of the greatest cycling climbs in the UK? Head north, is usually the answer. Like, really north, all the way to Scottish Highlands, just north of the Isle of Skye. Bealach na Bá is unusual for a climb in Scotland in that it goes over the top of the pass rather than through the valley below like most climbs. Some claim it to be the toughest climb in the UK, which I doubt having climbed Hardknott Pass in the Lake District, but it is certainly the most dramatic in terms of length, scenery and remoteness.
Every cyclist should ride this climb.
There’s that feeling again. Pitter patter. Stomach giggling. A nervous schoolboy awaiting his first kiss. Scotland awaits. A cycle tour set in stone when two years earlier I drove though the magnificent Highland landscapes, jaw in my lap. I shall return, I proclaimed, avec une velo!
The deconstruction of a hill climb gone wrong. Very, very wrong.
The summit. Finally. My body quivers, arms and legs shaking, in shock, for they know not what their master has just put them through. Dumbstruck, they remain numb. Nothing works. My eyes see double, triple, the many horizons wobbling before me.
Asphyxiated, I’ve climbed to the moon and cannot breathe. What on earth just happened, I wonder, staring accusingly at my legs, my head shaking. The banana I ate two hours earlier does its best to rise and see what all the fuss is about. Mustn’t let the precious energy escape my mouth.