Today’s ride was, in part, inspired by my End of Year Review.

It’s always nice to get out and do a scenic route – those make up the most memorable rides. And also I have decided to do more climbing this year. That can either be done indoors, or – more preferably – outdoors, weather permitting.

The weather wasn’t amazing today. I was in full winter kit. The temperature was alright, but it was super windy. Gusting well into the 20-25mph range. However, that wind had done a great job at drying out the road surface… every cloud, and all that.

I had a route in mind today, and I did plug an existing one into the Garmin. I knew I wanted to hit Oakenclough climb, and I wanted to do the steep route.

However, I knew the route I’d selected on the Garmin wasn’t quite what I wanted, so I went a bit ‘freestyle’.

Aka, I got a bit lost.

Now, this is no bad thing. Actually it worked out quite in my favour. When I got the bend above, I thought I could see Oakenclough off in the background. Circled above in red. I’m not actually sure that is the hill though. But I knew the way to the shorter, sharper climb came down around there somewhere, so I pointed the bike down that road and off I went.

Now it turns out the road I thought this was, wasn’t that road. Whoops.

But still, the view above was lovely, and a friendly farmer looking chap (flat cap, green gilet) even said ‘hello’ as I passed, so it felt like I was on to a winner.

Somehow I ended up kind of looping back on myself. So at the next possible turn, I tried again.

This took me up a road I had never been down before, and it fairly quickly got fairly steep. I had no idea, at the time, but it seems I’d hit a categorised climb I had no idea about. Interestingly, Butt Hill Lane Climb is a Cat 4 climb, which is the same as Oakenclough… so one to add to my circuit for next time.

All I knew on that attempt is that every bend seemed to bring a new, steeper bit of road. And as I had no idea how to judge it, I found I kinda burned myself a little too hard on the steeper sections.

Having the River Calder off to the left was super pretty though – sadly I was on an effort so didn’t stop for photos, but there was a lovely waterfall to see – and I got a jolly good view as I was going by so slowly 🙂

This is the only time I can ever remember having a tail wind that felt like it was pushing me up hill. Marvellous.

Thankfully, even though it was fairly wet, I was very grateful it wasn’t icy.

When I came out of Butt Hill Lane (which did make me laugh, because I am a child), I regained my bearings and realised I was super close to the bottom of Oakenclough.

All good, but I really needed a wee. I kept thinking I’d stop and relieve myself before hitting the climb, but everywhere suitable had a dog walker or a car which made me think twice.

Before I knew it, I was turning into Delph Lane and was on the climb. Bowel be damned.

I managed to take it fairly easy on the lower part of the climb, pacing myself well.

When things got steeper I had no Climb Pro to guide me, so had to pace it by eye. Much like on the Crumbleholm climb I tried to take off my sunglasses mid way up, and failed yet again to place them in the helmet holders. So back on they went.

Fortunately this one wasn’t quite as brutal as I had made it out to be in my head. Certainly not as hard as Crumbleholm, from my point of view.

I quite enjoyed this one, with the one downside being as I got to the top, very breathless, I struggled to catch a breath with the wind so wild up there blowing right in my face.

At the top I stopped for a banana and some photos. Then it was off down the hill.

On the way back I thought I’d go past Brock Bottoms, down the crazy steep hill. Fortunately not traffic to contend with.

I actually thought I’d got the easier end of the bargain – not remembering the other side held a ridiculous 23% gradient slope to get back up towards Beacon Fell. Crikey Moses.

The one downside today was that after each effort, with the wind blowing on me, I was freezing. Sweating hard around the chest left me so cold when it got to the flats and my body cooled down.

When I got back closer to home I was happy to see over 500m climbed, a decent calorie burn, and yeah… too cold to carry on for the remaining 2.5km to push past 50km. Job done though, no regrets.

Not a bad start to the year. Back to work tomorrow though, so no more fun rides like this on a weekday in the foreseeable future.

2 thoughts on “Overreach-enclough”

  1. Great stuff! Love the photos and a good calorie burn. I was going to go outdoors yesterday too but thought it was just too windy and sunshine was forecast for today. The sun is shining but far too icy. Indoor session for me then today. Happy New Year!

    • Sadly back at work today so no daytime riding for me. That said, the temp has dipped by 10c overnight up here, thankfully no ice though… yet. I’m sure we are in for a nasty Feb / March to pay back for this warm start.

      Happy new year 🙂


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