It has taken me a bit of a while to get around to editing the footage for the Welsh climbs I completed in July. I've been busy with work and stuff at home but one of the main reasons for the delay is that I just needed a break from the 100 climbs stuff after getting back from Wales. I took on the remaining three Welsh climbs at the start of heat wave which really left me suffering and in truth I haven't been in a hurry to edit the footage.
Still, I've started the editing process now and the stuff I filmed doesn't look too bad so maybe I should look back on my time in Wales a bit more favourably. On the 11th July I drove up to Denbigh to ride the worryingly named Road to Hell. I originally intended to take on this climb a month or so earlier but a pulled calf muscle that left me struggling on the Horseshoe Pass meant that I felt it was more sensible to wait until I was back in decent shape before finishing off the Welsh climbs. Driving up to Denbigh seemed to take forever in the increasingly hot weather and after about 5 1/2 hours in a sweltering car I rolled into the car park at the nature reserve at the top of the climb.
This is a long climb and the descent was a decent ride in itself. In the 100 climbs book Simon Warren mentions that halfway up the climb there is a longish and fast descent. This of course translated into a short sharp little climb half way down to the start so I was able to get a warm up before starting my climb back up to the top. Not that I needed a warm up. Even though I didn't get to the climb until early evening the heat of the day hadn't abated. Working up a sweat on a descent was a first for me.
The first part of the climb is a pleasant enough meander along the lanes out of Denbigh and it isn't until you reach a couple of hairpin bends that the climb proper begins. The first mile or so of the following section is gentle enough with the gradient only ramping up slightly. After a significant period of gently climbing narrow lanes however the real challenge of the climb rears up in front of you; a long 17% gradient section that starts with some vicious bends. I was already feeling rubbish before I reached this point in the climb and it ended up being a painful slow speed crawl to the top of this section of the climb. A long drive in the car followed by a hot and long uphill bike ride are a less than ideal combination and it was a relief to have a nice downhill to coast down after suffering on the toughest part of the climb. It helped me to cool off a little.
It may be called the Road to Hell but the nature reserve at the top is very pretty