Thursday, 19 July 2012

Dover's Hill

I was hoping that this would be a write up of how I ticked Weston Hill and Dover’s Hill off the list within 24 hours of each other. Unfortunately my plans to ride Weston Hill in Bath didn’t quite work out.

The plan was simple, I had a couple of days meetings in Oxfordshire planned and I would take on Weston Hill on my way to the first and then Dover’s Hill the following day after my meetings finished. My day started well enough and I left the house nice and early but my journey into Bath took longer than was ideal and the closer I got the slower I went. By the time I got to the foot of Weston Hill time was against me and it was clear that I wouldn’t have time to complete the ride, find somewhere to get changed and then get to my meeting. Work had to come first so I had to abort. The good thing is I got to scope out the climb, find a decent place to park near the top. I also thankfully found a quicker route to get to the climb for when I have the time to go back.

Dover’s Hill was a lot more straightforward. After a day sat on my backside in meetings I only had to drive about thirty miles, do the climb and then go home. Of course that was the theory. My first main problem after leaving work was finding somewhere to get changed. I was on a tight schedule so decided that it would be more time efficient to get as close to the climb as possible before getting changed in a lay by. Changing out of office attire into cycling gear requires a certain amount of nakedness and finding a quiet lay by was difficult. I had to get changed using the door mirrors to figure out when cars were passing. I also managed to drop a sock in a puddle which was less than ideal. It isn’t an experience I’m looking to repeat anytime soon!

Once I had managed the most stressful change in clothes in history I drove onto Dover’s Hill and after finding it (I naturally drove past it the first time) got parked up and rode down to the start. I’m glad I didn’t wait until getting to the hill before getting changed as it seems Dover’s Hill is a popular spot with early evening dog walkers.

Dover’s Hill is actually quite a pretty little climb out of an attractive Gloucestershire village. Sadly I wasn’t able to fully appreciate it as two days in meetings had left me feeling below par. The legs were working OK and the climb isn’t particularly steep but I huffed and puffed my way to the top like a 60 a day smoker. It probably didn’t help that there had been a heavy shower before I got to Dover’s Hill and as I coasted down to the start I got completely soaked. Despite the now familiar soundtrack of my laboured breathing I actually found the climb pretty easy to complete and it was nice to drive back to Devon knowing that I had completed the 20th climb out of the 100. Driving for three hours in damp cycling shorts isn’t something I intend to repeat but after the earlier hassle of getting changed in public I couldn’t face going through the experience all over again.

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