Monday, 24 June 2013

Park Rash

Park Rash was my first climb of the day and as I drove my little Fiat towards it along the single track road that leads to it from Kettlewell the site of the first couple of corners caused a sharp intake of breath. It looks like someone has just draped a strip of tarmac over the hill side. It isn’t quite as savage as it looks once you start to ride it but it is certainly a road that, on appearance alone, makes you nervous. In fact the hairpin bends are probably worse on the descent. As I rode down from the top where I had parked the car I approached the two corners carrying quite a lot of speed. The surface of the road is rough and that, combined with sharp braking, made my back wheel skip all over the road. It certainly woke me up that morning. It also reinforced the point that if hairpin bends look bad going up you need to treat them with a lot of respect on the way down

For me it is a point of honour to try and put in a decent effort when it comes to uphill hairpin bends and I think this was ultimately my undoing. In short I overdid it and seemed to burn through my reserves on the lower slopes of the climb. It meant that I was struggling for most of the ride and at times really found it difficult to lift my pace. A competitive hill climber would have no doubt used the undulating mid section of the climb to increase their speed. I on the other hand found it a brilliant bit of road to go slow on as I attempted to recover from my earlier efforts. It wasn’t my prettiest ride and I suspect my dad and the dog were getting pretty fed up waiting for me at the top, especially as it was shaping up to be another hot day. Once I did hit the final steep ramp up to the summit I had managed to get on top of my pace but that pace was slow and I was only able to winch myself up in a low gear.

Looking back on the experience it is one amazing bit of road. The middle section where you can see the road stretching off to the start of the final climb to the summit is breathtaking. Its just a shame that this climb quite literally took my breath away and I was too busy trying to breath and pedal at the same time to fully appreciate it.
My support team going for a stroll at the top of Park Rash
My next climb of the day was to be Greenhow Hill and in the afternoon heat I was about to start suffering far more than I did on Park Rash. More to follow.

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