Road Ride – Haworth Loop

It has been 23 days since I last rode a bicycle. I can’t use the broken wheel on my Basso as an excuse because my mountain bike was okay but I didn’t ride that either. I had my wheel repaired but I still didn’t ride. Okay, I was ill for a while, but I’ve let a few sunny days slip by when I could have ridden, but didn’t. I was in danger of becoming an ex-cyclist!

I’m hoping to ride Season of Mists 2010 on Sunday (Season of Mists 2009 post) and didn’t want to do it without having got at least one ride in first to see what my fitness was like, and also to test the repaired wheel (I didn’t want to risk breaking another spoke 30 miles from home, with no direct train back this time).

So, I forced myself to go out this afternoon. It was actually a pretty chilly, depressing kind of day. Low cloud blocked any direct sunlight and there was occasional light drizzle. Not great, but not really that bad either. It had to be done!

I decided on a ride to Haworth and back. It would be roughly equivalent to tackling 30% of the SoM route, though lacking some of the event’s really hard climbs.

As soon as I set off, I was enjoying that old familiar sensation of spinning the pedals round – it felt goooooood to be back on a bike. For about 1 minute, that is! That’s as long as it took me to hit the foot of the long climb up the Keighley Road out of Hebden Bridge. Fair enough – I wasn’t warmed up. And my chest still felt slightly wheezy from the after-effects of my recent chest infection. And I was carrying even more weight round my waist than normal. Oh, and I’m not fit either! Let’s face it – this was going to be hard work…

I climbed slowly up through the woods, then pulled in at the turning area at Pecket Well to check if my rear wheel was still ‘true’ – it was, and it remained so throughout the ride.

Up over the summit and then a fast descent to Oxenhope, interrupted by temporary traffic lights just after the Waggon and Horses. Hey, I should comment on the improvements to the road surface since I last cycled over that hill! The road has been resurfaced at the Hebden Bridge End, and also as it enters Oxenhope, where it used to be horribly broken up – very nice to ride on! Why can’t all our roads be like that? How long will that new surface last?

I continued along Haworth Brow, then doubled back down the hill into the centre of the village. Hmmph – more road works and traffic lights on the steep climb up past the park. I was held up for a few minutes, which wasn’t a real problem, but the stupidly short cycle on the lights was! I was only halfway up the climb when the lights changed and I soon had cars coming down towards me. Fortunately, there was room for me to squeeze by. If a larger vehicle had come down, I’d have had to dismount and walk the bike up.

I rode up round to Penistone hill and climbed over the top of that, then descended to Oxenhope and headed back up the hill over to Hebden Bridge.

I didn’t break any speed records, but it had been a nice little ride. 18.8 miles, 2,600 feet of climbing (30.3 km, 800 metres).

My fitness isn’t great, but it was good enough to get me through the ride without any major suffering. SoM will be a different beast if I tackle it on Sunday – it will really hurt! Still, it might be one of the last good rides of 2010 before the winter arrives. We might get a mild one this time, and I could carry on cycling, or we could get another long, cold one which forces me to hang up my wheels for a couple of months again. Best to make the most of what time I have left before the clocks go back and the daylight hours become horribly short, gloomy and cold!

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2 Responses to “Road Ride – Haworth Loop”

  1. I never realised the A6033 (Keighley Rd) was that steep. Mind you i’ve always been going the easy(ier) way -down!

    I’m still undecided if i’m going to hang my wheels up over winter and just use the spinning bikes at the gym or if i’m going to ‘invest’ in a winter bike. – (I think the winter bikes going to win!)

  2. No, the A6033 isn’t that steep. It is steeper than the other long local climb up through Cragg Vale which only averages 3.3%. The A6033 averages 5.7% to the sharp bend near the top where the road flattens out or 5.1% if you include that last bit up to the actual summit. It is significantly steeper coming the other way from Oxenhope – that averages 6.5% for just over 2 miles.

    The steep hill I was on about is down in Haworth going up the side of the park. According to my mapping software it only averages 10% for about 325 yards but there is a bit of a ramp on it which claims a chevron on the OS map so it must be at least 14% which my legs certainly agree with!

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