Friday, 30 November 2012

Toys Hill

Well, here it is, footage of my last climb of 2012. The days are getting shorter and the weather is getting worse so it is time for a break in my attempt on the 100 greatest climbs. It was always my intention to spread the climbs out over an extended period but I was hoping to have completed around 40 of the hills by this point. Knee problems earlier in the year and some just plain disastrous trips to Wales have put a dent in my plans but no bother, there is always 2013. Besides, the first 30 climbs have highlighted some areas where I need to do some work so hopefully next year will see a stronger and more organised me take on the remaining 70 hills.

On the 17th November I took on 3 hills and the last one I rode before heading home was Toys Hill in Kent. It is a fairly tough climb with the gradient eventually ramping up to 18%. After setting up in the car park at the top of the hill I had a rough descent to the bottom. The road surface is very heavily pock marked with pot holes and broken tarmac in places and despite running 28mm tyres the alloy frame and fork on the Uncle John were really giving me a pounding on the way down. My faithful old Surly Cross Check may be a bit heavier and less efficient on the steep ascents but there are times when I miss not bringing it with me and this was one of them; it just seems to smooth out the rough stuff a little better.

Anyway, after bouncing my way to the bottom of the climb it was time to stick on the helmet cam, fire up Ass Cam and see what I could do on the way back up to the car. Toys Hill starts with a long gradual ramp up in gradient and for a brief period I was in the big ring. My top gear riding didn’t last long and before I knew it I was starting to gradually work my way down through the gears. Still, it was nice to have one climb where I didn’t start in bottom gear.

The strangely disappointing Toys Hill car park. You expect a view after the pain the climb puts you through...
One thing I wasn’t expecting to suffer with on this climb was the heat. Despite it being November and the weather at the start of the day being foggy and cold the day had turned into quite a mild one. About half way up the climb I realised that overshoes, winter gloves etc would be a hindrance and, sure enough I started to slowly overheat. The eagle eyed amongst you will notice that half way into the video footage my gloves disappear. I also ended up unzipping everything that could be legally unzipped and taking off my shades. The heat rising from the collar of my jacket caused them to mist up and seeing where I was going was actually quite useful.

As the gradient ramped up I started to slow and flag a bit. By the time I reached the final 18% ramp I was locked in bottom gear and grimly spinning my way to the top willing the hill to end. The last couple of hundred metres weren’t pleasant and I faded quite badly but I did eventually make it back to the car and that was it, climb number 30 complete. It is nice to finish the year on a round number. Depending on how the weather behaves over the next couple of months it is likely to be late February before I climb back on the Uncle John and start riding uphill slowly again. That’s not to say that I won’t be doing any riding in the meantime. In fact I have quite a few related projects to get cracking with that will hopefully make next years final 70 climbs a bit more manageable. You’ll have to stay tuned for further details…

No comments:

Post a Comment