Saturday, 19 August 2017

This is Anfield. Sort of ....

Way back when in the 1970's and 1980's Liverpool football club dominated everything. They swept all aside and won pretty much everything you could win as a club side. Something interesting arose during that time; mind games. Famed for big characters of the era, Clough and so on, mind games were nothing new, but it ramped up a notch and the fact that many teams travelled to Liverpool and 'bottled' it as they walked out to the pitch under the famous 'this is anfield' sign. The game was effectively lost before they even set foot onto the turf. It is all in the head.

Hills have the same effect on cyclists. The mental aspect of a hill can more often than not supersede the actual demands of the hill in question and today, there is no better example of this as I nailed Mamhead, another mythical Devon climb that has given me the the heebeegeebees since I moved here. It had me in the head so to speak and for the last three years, I have turned right before the climb proper begins. It was after all once used in the UK National hill climb championship so yes, it is a test.

Being frank I have no idea why I worried so much. It was far from a breeze, but I have ridden much harder hills and frankly I look forward to using it more as it is literally ten minutes from my door. Similar to Cheddar with a couple of steep corners, it climbs 3.6 miles from sea level to a smidge under 800 feet. Not that high, but sharp rather than long and the first half is a very elusive false flat. I averaged 221 watts at 9.4 mph for the climb and span up though interestingly, I did not get into the 32 tooth cog as my bike was slipping and would not hold the gear, so rather than risk the chain spilling I rode one cog down. That is a result. This in itself could make the new Ultegra 11-30 appealing one day. Even Dura Ace, mmmm, lovely.

My bike as ever rode beautifully and no complaints apart from the howling wind on the top of Haldon Ridge, the hinterland between the coast and Dartmoor. Have said it before, but you can reinvent yourself as a climber within the realms of your natural skill set on a push bike. 

I have never raced a bike competitively, but one thing I can assure you is that no one wins a training ride. It is simply the joy of being on the bike and days like today are joyful.

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