Sunday, 31 July 2011

Croeso y Cymru and other stuff

A little while since the last post, oops!

The weeks have consisted of riding in to work with ever quicker times in both directions, I've managed to get the return home time down to 18mins30 but still can't seem to trim much time off the main climb up out of the village which is stuck at c. 4mins between the two marker points. Will have to do some work on climbing - gulp!

Climbing wise, just a couple of days out: one with Simon to Robin Proctor's Scar and Gigg South where we did the usual litany of easier sport climb. I hadn't been out for a few weeks so wasn't sure how I'd be climbing but it turned out that I felt reasonably comfortable but obviously the stamina wasn't up to much. Yesterday was a bit different - went down to N. Wales with Mike. The plan had moved from Cloggy to Craig yr Ysfa to Ogwen where we ended up on Clogwyn y Tarw (the Gribin Facet). We started off with myself leading Diadem, a HVS which I hadn't done before, very pleasant it was as well. Mike then led Yob Route which I'd soloed back in the day, a fact we both expressed surprise at. Our final route on this crag was Hopkinson's Crack a surprisingly tough little crack pitch which needed  quite a bit of cam reuse as we didn't have a huge rack of 3.5 sized Friends.

We then slogged up in the humidity to Cwm Bochlwyd to Glyder Fach main cliff. Mike wanted to do Lot's Groove so after a quick run up a couple of introductory pitches I got ensconced on a suitable stance ready for the main event. Mike made steady but good progress on it in the increasingly humid conditions - all the vegetation was very wet and the cracks on the whole face felt pretty damp. After a dismal failure on the cracks on both the direct finishes we scuttled to the top via an easier corner. By the time we got back to our sacks it was 5pm so we called it a day - four good mountain HVSs in the bag though.

Today was the Sunday morning bike ride and I'd decided that I'd ride home from Pip's in Delph. Only problem is that there are at least three significant climbs along the way. As soon as I pulled out of Delph there were one or two spots of rain, uh oh - could be a long ride, fortunately they didn't amount to anything and in a few minutes I was at Denshaw at the start of the long climb up to Buckstones which is reckoned as one of the easier Pennine climbs, just 150m of ascent. Sure enough, 13 minutes later I was over the summit having not had to get out of the saddle. A blast along the plateau then down across the M62, getting passed by Cath in the car shortly afterwards, before the steep descent down to Rippenden and then in to Sowerby Bridge.

The next bit of road was a bit of a shock and I was out of the saddle all the way up to the main Calderdale road. A spin along this and I overtake a couple of cyclists just as we enter Hebden Bridge and I have to cut right and begin the climb to Cock Hill which has around 330m of ascent. The last time I'd done this I'd taken 30mins so had a target :-) Fortunately the lowest section is the steepest though the bit through Pecket Well is on rough tarmac and upsets your rhythm. Shortly after Pecket Well the view open out so you can see your target which though not the summit is the point at which the gradient eases significantly and you can speed up. The summit was reached in 26mins so good going.

As I was blasting down the other side I decided not to head via Ponden but to return via Keighley which meant more blast of a descent, plus the road surface was decidedly better. I got through Keighley and clocked two hours on the road as I was entering Steeton though now I had a head wind. Just the normal commute  route home and the final climb of 130m. Not surprisingly I was a little slower on this than normal taking 4:30 between the markers. I got home in 2hr22mins with an average speed of 26.2kph.

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