Curbar Edge

The first time I hit Curbar Edge was after I’d done the Coast to Coast mountain bike route over two days. I thought I’d ridden some tough hills on that. This was a Sunday ride with some non-C2C friends. And we hit Curbar, and it hit me back hard.

For a long time since then, I considered it the toughest hill I’d ridden. It had a special place in my mind as being a bastard. And that mental image made it one.

Nothing else in Derbyshire, not Mam Nick, not Winnats Pass, not Rowsley was worse than Curbar.

Today I rode three of the 100 Greatest Climbs, and this was the 2nd I hit and it was the easiest.

It’s not the tough bastard I thought it was.

Oh it’s tough.

Just not as tough as it was in my head. Today I slayed that beast of my imagination. I didn’t even PR it. It just got put into perspective more.

It starts hard, a big, steep imposing ramp, then levels off a bit (if you can call it levelling off) through the village before some nasty hair pins and an endless ride to a blind corner that hides a last little sting.

It’s hard work, but I now love it instead of hating it. Which is nice. Good training. I plan to hit it on some evening rides when the day gets longer. Fresher legs and smash my PR I think.

Winnats Pass

I’ve always loved Winnats Pass, and the area around it. There’s just something stunning about how it looks.

As it’s reasonably local, famous and obvious, I’d already ridden it a few times before getting the 100 Greatest Climbs book, and I wasn’t surprised it was in there.

Much as I love how the place it looks, I didn’t love riding up it. It’s seriously tough.

The lead in, which looks nice and flat as you approach, quickly jumps up to nearly 10%. Then you hit the first cattle grid and it gets silly.

Twisting and turning up through the pass, it’s epic in its beauty. Not that you can admire that as you’re head down, giving it everything to keep going. It’s a really tough climb.

Personally, I don’t think it finishes until the road junction at the top, but, given the number of segments on Strava there is some dispute as to what makes the Winnats climb!

Check out the interactive 3D profile on Veloviewer.

There are three of the 100 Greatest Climbs which are close to home for me. Winnats being the furthest, and the 2nd most ridden (by me). And it’s the toughest. I rode three of them today in one ride. Winnats was the first, and still harder than Rowsley Bank at the end of the ride.

Double Brutal

Last year, the Sheff Rec Cycle Club announced they were going to run their usual club annual challenge ride as an open sportive with limited places. The route is a tough 50 miles of repeated climbing in the Strines area near Sheffield. It covers ground that the Tour De France Stage 2 2014 will cover.

You can see the information they published about the event here.

Frankly, we were too tight to pay the entry fee to ride the sportive, especially since it was only 50 miles. So we decided we’d just cycle out to Strines one Sunday and do the route ourselves.

Unfortunately, that meant that we were adding an additional 50 miles onto the route, and a considerable amount more climbing to get over the hills to Strines.

Thus was born Double Brutal.

We thought it would make a good March landmark ride as part of our C2C Training Ride series. The route is good, because it loops round Strines a lot, which means if the weather turns really nasty, or it’s too tough, it’s easy for people to drop out and head back to the start.

Strines is also quite sheltered, so if the weather is a bit off, we won’t be constantly blasted by wind like we were on theย Lincoln Blast.

We’ve improved the route this year, so it’s not just out there, challenge and back, but puts a bit of interesting Edge of the Peak District Fun on the return, and called it Double Brutal – Redux.

This ride is brutal. It’s 100 miles, with over 13,000ft of climbing. That’s 160km with 4,000m of climbing. Almost the same ascent as the C2C.

We’re planning on riding the route on Saturday the 15th of March. A Saturday not our usual Sunday just this once. We’ll likely be starting from Eckington at 8am. There’s the possibility of picking others up at Bradfield as we hit the start of the main Strines Challenge route for those who feel they’d rather have their Brutal in a single measure.

And this video should give you a good idea of what it’s like, just look at those silky smooth surfaced empty roads with beautiful views and weather…


On Sunday, in the horrific wind (but otherwise rather nice weather) we took on a blast out east to go to Lincoln and ride up the Michaelgate climb.

We were going to Lincoln anyway, and I recently bought the book 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs and Michaelgate was in it. So we added it.

The book says:

Michaelgate is a true classic, a 1-in-6 cobbled road through the heart of Lincoln. The centrepiece of the annual Lincoln Grand Prix, one of the country’s greatest bike races, it’s a bone shaking, lung busting test of man and machine.

The book then goes on.

Which Michaelgate does not. It’s short.

I was expecting really steep, really treacherous cobbles. I was expecting to have to stay seated for traction on the rear wheel. Which would be a problem as I was on the winter bike with not the best hill gearing and a lot of extra weight.

I was expecting to fight my way to the top and collapse exhausted from this epic climb.

As it was, I got out of the saddle for my gearing, pumped away and was up it, and steep hill, and wondering why the pubs were still shut.

We’d ridden out for a pint, and been so fast the pubs weren’t open. So we sat outside the cathedral to fuel up and then set off again.

Here’s the Strava segment. Clocked in at 1’40, and 260th roughly out of 600 and some. I’d like to go back on the fast bike without the wind and see how much higher I can get. But. Not overly impressed with this climb.

The Lincoln Blast

Sunday sees the Hill’s Angels hosting a C2C Training Milestone ride. The aim is to ride 100 miles, flat not hilly, because by now, if you’re going to C2C in June, you should be able to ride 100 miles, flat, not hilly. ๐Ÿ™‚

So, the plan is to head out to Lincoln, climb Michaelgate, one of the Hundred Greatest Cycling Climbs, have a pint, and cycle back.

It’s going to be windy ๐Ÿ™