The base of the hill was easy enough to find but as we drove up to the top my little Fiat Qubo started to struggle with the increasing gradient. The mid point of the climb is marked by a 25% section with a steep hairpin bend. As I coaxed the car round in 1st gear it dawned on me I would probably have similar problems on the bike.
The descent down to the start from a car park at the top was a fast and fun ride and then the hard work started. The lower slopes are pretty steep and you only get one bit of respite just after a junction about a 1/4 of the way up where the gradient eases for a bit. After that it just gets steeper and steeper. I decided to take a slow and steady approach to this hill as the mid section was going to require a lot of effort. Just after passing the junction in the road I also noticed that the calf muscle I strained on The Shelf was starting to feel a bit tight. This gave me a further incentive to keep things slow as I didn't want to completely knacker it.
Approaching the steep hairpin bend I was determined not to get my approach wrong. I took a wide line in to reduce the effect of the gradient which, although not very pretty, meant I could get round without grinding to a halt with the steepness of the slope The inner part of the hairpin is ludicrously steep but thankfully there was no traffic coming down the hill to baulk my progress like I experienced on the Riber climb in Matlock.
The final drag up to the finish proved to be just that; a drag for my tired feeling legs
Once past the hairpin the gradient starts to ease off for the final section of the hill. At this point I was starting to flag a bit and the final ramp up to the car part at the summit seemed to take forever; I guess I used up my reserves of energy on the steeper lower slopes and my calf muscle at this point was starting to feel like I needed to get off the bike and rest it. Sadly once at the top the dog was in need of a walk and a chance to befoul the Welsh countryside and a trek round the top of the hill followed.
The top of Penbarra
After loading the dog and the bike back into the car it was off to Mold for lunch before heading back into the depths of the countryside to tackle the Moel Arthur climb. The weather was set to be quite bad overnight and I wanted to get the Moel Arthur climb out of the way on dry roads. I suppose I should get a move on a edit the video for Moel Arthur.
I am a fool
Time for a quick update on the video editing. After writing this blog post it dawned on me that I have managed to edit, encode and upload the video for Penbarra and The Shelf with the wrong bloody dates on them. I actually tackled both climbs on the 14th of MAY, not April. This I find very annoying as I can tell I will now have to edit both videos again and then encode them to HD and THEN upload the damn things to Youtube all over again as getting little things wrong like that really annoys me. I'm off to bang my head against a wall...