A ‘Killer Hill’ 40 years on…

I have just travelled down to Coventry with my Cannondale on the train. It is only about 0.5 miles to the station from where I live in Hebden Bridge, and about 3.5 miles from Coventry station to my mother’s house where I’ll be staying for the next few days. That was only 4 miles or 6.5 km of cycling in all but I was carrying a large rucksack weighing 22 pounds (10 kilos) so it was harder work than it sounds.

I decided to try the ‘killer hill’ that used to force me to dismount as a teenager. I think that I’ve mentioned it before on the blog – it’s nothing by Yorkshire standards but I remember trying to tackle it on the way home from school 40 years ago and it was weeks before I was finally able to ride up it.

So there I was, 40 years on with 30 pounds of surplus fat on me and a 22 pound load on my back. Okay, my Cannondale is about 12 pounds lighter than my old bike, so let’s say that I was lugging about 40 pounds extra today. How did it go? Easy! The hill is only about 300 yards long and has a maximum gradient of about 7%-8% for a short stretch, but probably only averages 5%. I can’t imagine how unfit I must have been as a young man, and yet I was slimmer and fitter then than most children are now – that’s scary!

Without the rucksack I could have sprinted up that hill, and yet I am the least fit of all my cycling friends. It just goes to show the gulf that exists between those who are even moderately fit, and the typical person living in the west today. Come on folks – if ‘they’ can do it, so can I, and if I can do it, so can you!

In case any of you were wondering… The reason that I’ve brought my Cannondale down with me is that I will be riding ‘The Cotswold Challenge’ on Saturday from Meriden. Meriden is about 7 miles from here and the event route is 99 miles (it’s supposed to be a ‘century’ ride but I’ve checked the route with my mapping software and it is definitely a mile short!). I’ll be doing a total of 113 miles which will be the longest ride so far this year. It should be a lot easier than some of my other rides though, because there are no huge hills and vast swathes of the route are nearly flat. I’m looking forward to it. I have a singlespeed bike here but I don’t fancy doing 113 miles on it, including some tough little Cotswold hills.

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