Hardest UK climb?

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Philip Benstead
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby Philip Benstead » 14 Oct 2016, 10:38am

foxyrider wrote:There are lots of things that influence our concept of how hard a climb is, some is subjective, some influenced by weather/season/fitness.

Certainly a climb can be harder for one rider than another - even if their fitness level is similar so it's not a fixed thing. We can certainly grade climbs by length/metres gained/max grade etc which will give an indication of difficulty but can throw up some anomalies - a short steep hill may score similar to a longer less steep climb that gains more height. Having ridden over some of the biggest Alpine passes I can certainly attest to this.

For example Holme Moss, the iconic Yorkshire climb is measured from a point above Holme village where wind rather than grade is the bogey but the climb really starts down in Holmfirth, the grades on the lower slopes enough to kill off TdF riders in 2014! Then of course a hill on a stripped road bike will probably be easier than the same on a loaded tourer even with higher gearing

As far as the UK is concerned Rosedale Chimney is a climb which I consider top of the list - grade/surface alone make it difficult, the bends add to the difficulty and the lack of run in raises the bar further.
Rosedale Chimney

Whilst on the CTC Birthday Rides I rode up this climb on a touring bike.
I was in 28 x 28 gear. When on one of the bend I notice something was not quite right with my rear derailleur.
I stopped and inspected it and saw that around the rivets on the body cracks had appeared.

Fearing the gear could go in the wheel in change to 28 x 24 remounted and carriers on.
I was using SPD pedals

I wonder if I could do that now?
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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 15 Oct 2016, 5:54pm

Hi,
There is a hill near where I live that is 30% +, I normally do it as part of a training ride 4000' in 28 miles, bike is about 18kgs.
For about ten seconds I have to use all my effort flat out, climbs 200' in 1/5th a mile.
The gear I use is 32 x 32 on a 700 35 tyre, I used to do this hill on 42 x 24 but I was lighter and bike was too and then the 35 years that have past.
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niggle
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby niggle » 16 Oct 2016, 10:53am

NATURAL ANKLING wrote:Hi,
There is a hill near where I live that is 30% +, I normally do it as part of a training ride 4000' in 28 miles, bike is about 18kgs.
For about ten seconds I have to use all my effort flat out, climbs 200' in 1/5th a mile.
The gear I use is 32 x 32 on a 700 35 tyre, I used to do this hill on 42 x 24 but I was lighter and bike was too and then the 35 years that have past.

That sort of severe short section was just about do-able, honking out of the saddle, for me on a road bike with 26 x 27 gear, 700x28c tyre, but with the unloaded tourer (22 x 32, 700 x 35c) I can do short 30% sections sat in the saddle, though have to pedal smoothly to avoid popping the front wheel up. On Hardknott there was one short section, about 25m, that this was not possible on, had to get out of the saddle and lean well forward over the front wheel to keep it down.

Tourer weighs 14.4Kg unloaded, road bike around 10.5Kg. I used them both on the same Dartmoor Devil Audax route three years apart, weather good both times.

2011 with the road bike I was at my best fitness ever, had recently done Four Hundreds 200K Audax, regularly riding 60-70 miles on Sundays. I got in with only a couple of minutes to spare, having had to walk up part of Dartmeet hill, and was quite tired.

2014 on tourer I was not as fit, only doing 30-40 miles on Sunday rides, no Audaxing, so plodded along but no walking, got in with 30mins to spare feeling great. The differences IMO were the superb Vittoria Hyper 35mm tyres (fast rolling, comfortable and confidence inspiring on descents) and getting up the hills slowly but more easily due to the low gearing, therefore felt less beaten up & knackered and needed much shorter breaks, just grabbed food, ate it and ran.

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 16 Oct 2016, 11:37am

Hi,
Did DD several times I might return one year :)
Some even turned up on single fixed gear :? , one chap did not repeat that a year later opting for conventionality :)

You can feel on top of the world on one ride and washed out same ride another time.
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby ukdodger » 16 Oct 2016, 11:43am

NATURAL ANKLING wrote:Hi,
Did DD several times I might return one year :)
Some even turned up on single fixed gear :? , one chap did not repeat that a year later :)

You can feel on top of the world on one ride and washed out same ride another time.


On my last CTC E2E we went down a very small hill into a town somewhere in the Midlands. It was so steep that going down I felt like I could tip over forwards. For the life of me I cant remember the town. But next year I'll be doing it again and will post it.

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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby fatboy » 17 Oct 2016, 8:10am

I did Hard Knott and Wrynose from West to east and I found it to be the hardest climb that I've done (and I've done Rosedale Chimney Bank). I was hostel touring so my saddlebag was fairly full but couldn't keep enough speed (24 x32) to not steer off the road. Gave up and walked to steepest bits. Wrynose was a doddle by comparison, I found Honister harder.
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Paulatic
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby Paulatic » 17 Oct 2016, 8:16am

I'm setting off on one of my wee Cumbria tours tomorrow :D
Passing by Dun Fell http://cyclinguphill.com/great-dun-fell/
it's over 20 yrs since I cycled that Think I'll do it again as I pass but I'm certainly staching my panniers somewhere at the bottom!
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Tiberius
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby Tiberius » 17 Oct 2016, 9:43am

Philip Benstead wrote:
Rosedale Chimney

Whilst on the CTC Birthday Rides I rode up this climb on a touring bike.
I was in 28 x 28 gear. When on one of the bend I notice something was not quite right with my rear derailleur.
I stopped and inspected it and saw that around the rivets on the body cracks had appeared.

Fearing the gear could go in the wheel in change to 28 x 24 remounted and carriers on.
I was using SPD pedals

I wonder if I could do that now?



A couple of months ago, I walked up Rosedale Chimney bank.....it's fairly local to me and I was running it through my head, sort of 'could I/couldn't I' cycle up it ?? ....Conclusion = NO CHANCE !! I don't know who I was trying to kid.... :mrgreen:

From the top I watched a number of cyclists make it and a number fail. The failures were mainly due to not getting lucky with the traffic that was coming down, and therefore not being able to ride 'wide' when necessary.

Interestingly, I didn't see one single rider ride down.....ALL choosing to walk down with their bikes.....

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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby drossall » 17 Oct 2016, 7:17pm

I've mentioned before that I climbed Hardknott with the aid of a camera, which made it necessary to get off and take pictures on some of the steepest corners :D

Coming down towards Wrynose, my back wheel was skipping. I did consider walking.

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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby fast but dim » 17 Oct 2016, 7:34pm

Paulatic wrote:I'm setting off on one of my wee Cumbria tours tomorrow :D
Passing by Dun Fell http://cyclinguphill.com/great-dun-fell/
it's over 20 yrs since I cycled that Think I'll do it again as I pass but I'm certainly staching my panniers somewhere at the bottom!


I rode great dunn fell in mid september on my carbon bike, compact 34 / 32 lowest gear. It's looooonnnngggg, relentless and pretty boring ( took me nearly an hour)... I have to confess to leaving two bananas and one full bottle at the bottom.

Hardknott / Wrynose get me everytime. horrible even on a triple. I've ridden the 45 deg. "Corkscrew" on the Cheshire Cobbled Classic sportive, which is hard to get up, but mainly because of the slippery cobbles.

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Philip Benstead
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby Philip Benstead » 17 Oct 2016, 7:37pm

Whilst on an Easter tour during 1970’s we stayed at yha eskdale yha , turning left out of the driveway we headed for hardnott pass.
I had the lowest set of 10 gears
14 to 28 with 46 and 36 chain rings
I let the others to go ahead. I made steady progress and started to catch the others up.
At one point i was so hot my glasses streamed up.
Whilst on the steepest section a car tried to go past but was having difficulty passing me i could smell his clutch burning.
Eventually he passed. I caught him on the decent where he got out of the car and grab me and said you can’t ride up that hill. My fellow cyclist appeared and said he has just done it.
We continued to climb wrynose pass it the was the decent i found exciting.
I did have MAFAC cantis brakes


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Organizing events and representing cyclist in southeast since 1988
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Milfred Cubicle
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby Milfred Cubicle » 23 Oct 2016, 8:45pm

I've ridden a few of the 'biggies' this year, and conclude....
Bealach Na Ba...tough, but more relentless than steep. The mid section saps your strength before the final steep section.
Hardknott...vicious gradient. Harder to keep cranks turning, poor surface in corners adds to difficulty.
Wrynose...nothing really, if you've just managed Hardknott!
Great Dun Fell...hard to pace, no visible summit.
Chapel Fell. Windy. Always flaming windy!
Two I find really tough;
The Struggle from Ambleside...narrow, steep part is sheltered, so you overheat.
Booze bank, Langthwaite...surface is very iffy these days. Dead end road makes you question your sanity, because you know fine well it goes nowhere!

On balance, I'd say Bealach was the toughest. It was a perfect day when I rode it, but poor weather would add a whole extra difficulty. Also, unless you drive, it's a decent ride in on lumpy roads.

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fionat
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby fionat » 23 Oct 2016, 9:19pm

Spinners wrote:For me, it was the Berriedale Braes on the last day of our LEJOG :lol:

Didn't know it was there and it was a bit of shock to return to 'Cornish' gradients (without the benefit of fresh legs) after finding Scotland very easy until then.



We sailed up the Berriedale Braes - I think we could smell the end!

Our hardest Lejog climb was the Stiperstones - felt like our front wheel wouldn't stay on the ground!

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Mick F
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby Mick F » 24 Oct 2016, 6:59am

I did Rosedale Chimney some years ago.
Yes, it was a hard climb, but not THAT hard, and no harder than I do round here.
Mick F. Cornwall

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andrew_s
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby andrew_s » 24 Oct 2016, 3:39pm

The hardest hill I've done was Winnats, back when I was a student with a bike (5-speed "racer", bottom gear 46x28), rather than a cyclist. Rosedale & Hardknott were easy by comparison.