Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Halifax Lane

I had been intending to do two climbs in Yorkshire on the 7th June as it was my last full day in the county before travelling home. It was forecast to be another hot day so I was intending to get up really early and try to tick off the Halifax Lane climb before 10am leaving me plenty of time to sort out the Shibden Wall climb before the temperature shot up at mid day cooking me and the dog. Things didn’t quite work out like that.

When I woke up on the morning of the 7th I felt awful. The fatigue of a week on the road trying to tick off climbs had been catching up on me since the day before and my knees ached, I felt exhausted and my legs generally felt stiff and not up to a hard days work. As a consequence we got on the road later than planned and it wasn’t until about 10am that we actually arrived at the village of Luddenden to start the climb.

Luddenden is a curious place. Every road I drove on that lead into the village seemed to be a monstrously steep climb. The road out of the village has a steep hairpin of such ferocity that lorries are banned from it. Whilst scouting out the climb I drove past the turn off that I was meant to take and ended up on a single track road that was half cobbles, half tarmac and featured a hairpin bend of such steepness and tightness I wasn’t such my car would make it. In fact the road was so steep and rough I took some convincing it was actually a road and not some sadists idea of a bike path.

As a consequence of my poor route finding I started the climb up Halifax Lane not totally convinced I was on the right road or where to turn off. In fact I did end up overshooting the junction I needed to turn left into and it was only a quick call to my ‘support team’ who had access to the little black book that saw me on the right road.

My tiredness and the heat meant I was slow up this climb but I am convinced it is not the hardest road out of the village to ride. I’m not volunteering to test my theory but I did feel that in between the hairpins Halifax Lane is actually not that fearsome a climb. OK, I’m more of a tourist than a competitive hill climber but there seemed to be a wealth of nasty stretches of tarmac in the area.

I had already decided before starting the climb that it would be my last in Yorkshire; I was simply too knackered to put in a decent effort on any more climbs and as I descended back to the car I noted that even my hands were feeling tired after a week of hard braking on steep descents. It was well after lunchtime before we got back to Bradley and it was nice to have an afternoon of not doing much at all and preparing for the journey back to the South West the following day.
My next trip is to South Wales as I still have some unfinished business to attend to there. Hopefully I’ll be a bit quicker in getting the videos up and onto the blog.


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