Tour of the South Pennines 2017

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Tour of the South Pennines 2017

Postby Jack Hughes » 28 Aug 2017 07:25

The counterpart to the Hell of the Worth; dispenses with cobbles and industrial archaeological landscapes to take in the beautiful purple heather clad moorlands, and wooded slopes. Ancient bridges and yellow sandstone houses.

Of course, to get to the breath taking views, you have to ride up hills. A lot of them.

The subtext of the route is to get over 4,000m in as close to 100 miles as possible. This makes the route rather challenging. And you'd be hard pressed to find another sportive that comes close to this in terms of intensity.


The route: Basically grab yourself a copy of the OL21 South Pennines outdoor leisure map, and ride all over it.

The route has three basic phases, with transitions between them.

Starting from the Dog & Gun pub above Oxenhope, the route crosses the third highest road at Cold Edge ( 432m/1417ft), before dropping down the picturesque Luddenden Valley to the first cross of Calderdale. This is the transition phase to drop back down to the Calder at Sowerbridge, with the start of "long gradual climbs" over the Southern part (almost the Peak districture) of the region.

The first of these big climbs is 12kms long, and takes you up through a changing topology until you crest the highest road pass (Buckstones Moss: 453m/1486ft).

A decent down to Denshaw, then the long climb back up to the fifth highest pass (Bleakedgate Moor, 405m/1329ft).

Finally, a climb up to the top of Cragg Vale. The descent of this is more interesting than the climb. 20 minutes of Freewheeling if you like. We broke the descent with a brunch stop at a great cycling-friendly cafe http://www.craggies.net/. Sat outside in the sunshine, admiring the views.

Then back into Calderdale for the second phase. (Upper) Calderdale is a steep classical U Shaped valley. With lots and lots of roads which go straight up. This included numerous infamous long steep climbs - Mytholm Steeps, Doghouse Bank, Shore Lane and so on. These would make a tough ride in themselves. You're on the rivet just trying to keep moving on them.

Then cut across some of the more wilder parts on a small road that transitions to the Northern section. Although this passes the highest point (550m), the road only maxes out at 392m/1286ft. Dropped down into Trawden for a second stop.

Then into the Northern section, less steep than Calderdale but still some great climbs. This area, Lothersdale, has a very low population density. It's also well bypassed by roads. So there isn't really any through traffic. This makes for very pleasant cycling, with about 1 car every 30 minutes or so on most of the roads.

This starts with a long climb up to the top top of Bleara Moor/Thornton more ( 361m/1184ft). Only the 12th highest road in the South Pennines, but right at the Northern edge with dramatic views of the Dales, Forest of Bowland, and, on a clear day, the Lake District.

Then a smashing 50mph descent into Carleton, before start the last 6 or so climbs.

Finally, crossing over a few valleys to take is to the Worth Valley, then some gentle climbs over to Harden, looping back round to take us back to the finish line.

A long day out. I wasn't very fit and had also been ill during the week. So by the time I had finished Calderdale I was just about done. Still had another 2000m of climbing to go at this point, so we dramatically slowed. But the early start and late finished meant that we saw the Sun rising and setting.

Ended up with 173km and over 4,400m of climbing (The route was extended by 3km from the 170km shown here, to take in the Cafe stop).

https://www.strava.com/routes/10128746
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Re: Tour of the South Pennines 2017

Postby Worrying Will » 28 Aug 2017 08:59

That was amazing. I wouldn't have been able to do it. Amazing effort

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Re: Tour of the South Pennines 2017

Postby Jack Hughes » 30 Aug 2017 10:39

Worrying Will wrote: I wouldn't have been able to do it.


If I could, you could. You are fitter than Scottie, and far, far fitter than me.

Going at my pace, Scottie found it pretty easy (relatively speaking).
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Re: Tour of the South Pennines 2017

Postby Jimba » 30 Aug 2017 18:06

Sounds like a cracking day out....and I can confirm that I also would not have been able to do it! :shock:
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Re: Tour of the South Pennines 2017

Postby jonathon.e » 04 Sep 2017 18:57

Let me see, things you won't find in the same sentence as me
4000m climbing
The next six climbs

Nice Piet and lovely pictures too.
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Re: Tour of the South Pennines 2017

Postby Jack Hughes » 09 Sep 2017 09:28

The >= 4,000m of climbing had long been on the TODO list. We tried it last year (just about the same route) but bailed before the last 1500m+ (last 6 big climbs climbs).

Trying to do it an as short at distance as 100m made it even more of an interesting challenge.

You have to be very fit to do it in a reasonable time. I had hoped to do it at an av speed of > 10mph. Just failed that.
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Re: Tour of the South Pennines 2017

Postby jonathon.e » 10 Sep 2017 13:07

Jack Hughes wrote:The >= 4,000m of climbing had long been on the TODO list. We tried it last year (just about the same route) but bailed before the last 1500m+ (last 6 big climbs climbs).

Trying to do it an as short at distance as 100m made it even more of an interesting challenge.

You have to be very fit to do it in a reasonable time. I had hoped to do it at an av speed of > 10mph. Just failed that.


C2C in a day, tick
4000m in 100 miles, tick
What's next on the todo list ?
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Re: Tour of the South Pennines 2017

Postby Jack Hughes » 10 Sep 2017 13:55

Some of the iconic European climbs.
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