X-factor (so I’m told) has the 6 chair challenge, I thought I’d come up with a challenge of my own, I spent ages looking for a catchy title and utilising extensive market research I came up with, “Supermurphs 6 climb challenge”, catchy eh. So what’s it all about?
Well basically in my never ending quest for self-improvement and my annoyance at not entering the Monsal Hill Climb I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking about my cycling and what I want to achieve. Then I gave myself a shake and said stop over analysing things, (that didn’t happen but you get the idea) and figured well actually I just want to continue going quicker uphill, so how do I do this?
Step 1, ride my bike more, this will really help. Step 2, ride up lots of hills. It’s not rocket science, well I hope not.
Tracking the progress is simple, you use Strava, forget racing, forget being a professional, any cyclist knows Strava is what counts, a KOM (king of the mountain) is basically on a par with winning on Mount Ventoux, no matter if it’s a segment created by yourself that no-one else can find, the fact you did it with a lead out behind a double decker bus and a raging tailwind, or that your veins are crammed full of EPO, getting that KOM separates you from the crowd.
I should say at this point, most of the 6 climbs on my 6 climb challenge (6CC, ooh a catchy hashtag) will unlikely result in me grabbing the KOM, those honours are usually held by the local cycling royalty, my challenge is to improve on my current times. How exciting I here you say!
I’m expecting Eurosport will be in touch any day now to film this epic quest but another addition, improving times in winter is not always the easiest thing to do, which like this blog makes it a complete waste of time, a bit like the X-factor then.
Choosing 6 climbs is not difficult, I’m pretty much surrounded by them, what I wanted to do was have a mix of length and gradient so here is the list.
Climb 1 – Potters Lane
Being less than 1 mile from my front door, Potters is a cracking little climb, quiet, 0.7 miles long and an average of 9%. No matter how fast you are, 0.7 miles at 9% demands some attention.
Climb 2 – Bank Road
Bank Road is in the middle of Matlock and the venue for this year’s 2016 National Hill Climb championship. It’s a beast, well no, actually it’s a bastard, it makes me shudder when I drive past it in the car, it’s absolute hell on the bike so I had to include it on my list.
Climb 3 – Beeley Moor
2.1 miles at an average of 6%, it starts off difficult but once you find a rhythm it’s a nice climb. I raced up it in 2015, I’m racing up it again in 2016, I’ll race up it again in 2017 hence why it’s on the list.
Climb 4 – Riber
The climb to the hairpins is bad enough, but when you get to the twisty bits it’s time to grind your teeth and then hope your knees don’t explode. The average grade of 9% is a bit misleading, the last 0.3 miles average 14% and include bits of 25+%.
Climb 5 – Dale Hill
The shortest of the six, in fact calling it a climb is a bit of stretch, it’s basically just a big wall, 12-13% at its steepest. All that’s required is an all-out effort, no pacing required. This will help me work on my top end power for when I start road racing…. and need that killer sprint.
Climb 6 – Rose Bank
This is the street I live on, to not have the KOM is an outrage, another short one that will focus on 1 minute power.
So there we have it, 6 climbs of varying degrees of difficulty, what a delight!