Top of Climb from Jubilee Tower – gives great views over Morecambe Bay
After the wind of the previous day, conditions were much better, and a light tailwind from the sea was very welcome after yesterdays headwind torture. It was a longer climb than previous day, about 1.75 miles of varying gradient, total height gain 183m. Steepest at the bottom (perhaps 14%) it becomes shallower at the top, with 2 sections of short downhill. Despite the gradient at the start, I sat down for virtually all the climb. Climbing in the saddle is a good way to make sure you don’t get carried away tackling the steep section at the bottom. I ride most hill climbs by looking at the time. I have a rough idea of time the race will take and gauge my efforts by that. For example, with 4 minutes on the clock, I knew I had about 3 mins left to up the effort for the final section. On this kind of climb it is essential to have something in reserve, as you can really pick up speed and gain momentum on the flatter / downhill sections at the top (see pacing hill climbs). It’s not often you can finish a hill climb in your 53 12 sprinting at 30mph. But, it makes for a picturesque finish by the Tower on the top of Quernmore.
I felt good during the climb and finished in 7.13 which took 10 seconds off Ben Greenwood’s course record from 2003. Average speed of just under 15 mph. It was great fun, at least when you get to the top and forget the pain of the climb. The hairpin descent was pretty tricky though – with a combination of carbon rims and ordinary brake blocks.
By the way, even if you don’t like the idea of racing, the Trough of Bowland / Quernmore is a very beautiful place for cycling. From the top you get a great view of Morecambe Bay or the Forest and moors inland. It is quite hilly, but, apart from the odd motorbike
Thanks to Alistair Hodge and Lancaster CC for organising the event.
Picture top: Jubilee Tower photo by Coradia 1000