Unfortunately I didn’t make the national 100. The shoulders wouldn’t have survived 4 hours on TT bike, but despite injury, I didn’t feel too dissappointed, I had also lost a little motivation for time trials on flat dual carriageways. I race from Feb to October, so it’s perhaps good to have a mid season break. They say a change is as good as a rest, so after fixing broken rear mech hanger and getting a new derailleur, I’ve been riding up the steep hills of West Yorkshire.
Today I went to Hebden Bridge, Todmorden, Widdop Moor and Trawden. It was just short of 3,000m of climbing in 70 miles. A strange kind of rest, though it was good to find some new climbs and new roads – not too far from Menston.
You wouldn’t choose West Yorkshire for a cycling holiday, but I’ve grown to really like these valleys and moors. Going from dense conurbations to quiet roads and moors, within a few miles. There are many moor roads, where you can see the packed terrace houses of towns down below and green moors above.
After that, I had a sharp descent to Todmorden where I went looking for a new climb called “Dog House Lane”. I read about it in Cycling Climbs of Yorkshire. I took a bit of time to find the climb in Todmorden, though it’s right near the train station, so easy when you know. Whilst deciding which road in Todmorden to take, I saw a rider go past, fully kitted out in the Orica Bike Exchange kit. For a moment, I thought it might be Simon Yates (who is from Bury). But, then I saw the size of the riders stomach, and realised it couldn’t be a professional who weighed 59 kg.
Dog House Lane is very steep at the bottom and, with a bit of moisture on the road, I got a bit of wheel slip to add to the drama of the climb. Usually when going up big climbs, I try to engineer a tailwind (i.e. pick the right climbs for the day) But today I just wanted to do a particular circuit and all main climbs seemed to have a headwind – especially Dog House Lane – which made the finishing drag a bit of a pain. On the way down I saw the most amazing cow with horns like he belonged in the Alps. I should have taken a photo because it was a wonderful contrast to the bleak moors and industrial towns below. You can find almost everything in West Yorkshire.
After the descent to Cornholme, it was another climb in quick succession. This time Shore climb which snaked north east towards Stansfield Moor. I enjoyed this climb a lot, perhaps because I finally I had a cross/tailwind, but there were also plenty of sharp switchbacks and a steep gradient to make it interesting.
After that climb I headed towards Hebden Bridge but took a left to another new climb Widdop Moor. It was also a new road I’d never ridden before. Quiet and scenic, only spoiled by that irritating headwind. At Trawden the legs were starting to feel a little fatigued, but it was a strong tailwind all the way home – through Haworth and Bingley, which is always the flip side of riding the first half into the wind.
Training for 12 hour time trials was mostly on the flat, but it certainly doesn’t harm your form for grovelling up 20% hills. So if you want to get better at hill climbs, do a 12 hour time trial. That’s my advice for the year.