Monday, 28 April 2014

Carlton Bank

Wow, I really am falling behind with these updates. Sorry about that. Normal service will be resumed very soon. In fact I’m planning another couple of climbs in the near future so it had better be. Carlton Bank was my fourth climb of the day on the 1st of March and I was starting to feel a little ragged by the time I got there. The area around the climb was very busy. The nice winter weather had brought out a load of hill walkers and people interested in visiting the restaurant at the top of the hill. Parking was tight and I imagine that during the height of summer getting parked at all is a bit of a challenge. The descent was awful, truly awful. The top of the hill is surfaced with very badly pock marked tarmac and it was one of those rides where I was glad I kitted out the Uncle John with heavy wheels and fat tyres. I’ll pick reliability over speed any day of the week. After a bone shaking and filling loosening descent it was time to turn around, fire up the cameras and start to spin my way slowly to the top.


I struggled badly on this climb. I’d unbelievably covered almost 100 miles of driving up until that point in the day and I was just frankly knackered. My petrol station sports refuelling strategy wasn’t entirely working out (turns out Chicken on a Stick is the ideal example of empty calories) and my right knee also started grumbling as the road ramped up in steepness after the initial easy gradient. Everything slowed to a crawl as I progressed up the climb. This slow speed did have its advantages as my tired weaving about helped me to avoid the potholes that scar the top of the climb.

The view from the top of Carlton Bank

As I winched my way past the top of the climb I was congratulated for my efforts by a couple who had driven by me as I neared the top. They seemed very impressed by my riding as they put on their walking boots. All I could manage in return was some oxygen starved gibberish but their kind words were appreciated. After what felt like an epic day both in the car and on the bike it was back to my Travelhovel and some proper refuelling. I don’t usually touch alcohol on my trips away but the lure of a cold beer was too strong to resist.

When it comes to recovery drinks I just don't do isotonic

My back and shoulders were aching by the end of the evening which was a sure sign I’d had to really wrestle the bike uphill. The next day I had intended to tick off two climbs but realising that my legs weren’t performing as I had hoped, and that I had a long drive home to deal with, I decided that I should only tackle one climb on the Sunday. It would be a longish one mind you; Tan Hill. More to follow.

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