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.
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.
I found this article, which gives a nice overview of good technique for better hill climbing and training for hill climbing.