Without the prompt of Toby Cummins who had travelled North to spend the weekend at his in-laws and had offered an invite to join him and friend Deborah on the route, I'd never have got to discover this hidden gem of a ride called the 'Lune Coal Road Challenge.'
The Only Way Is Up
Setting off into a tough headwind which remained with us for much of the thirty miles as we headed East, the route steadily climbs for 25 miles, where you then get a break before hitting the big climb of the day called 'Garsdale Head' which is a steep climb around the 38 mile mark.
222M high and 3.8km long, it's one of those where you just have to push the pedals through, with 20% gradients at points. It's one of the climbs that features in Simon Warrens book - 'The 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs'. This was definitely the hardest hill of the day for me and I hit my heart rate max of 185bpm as I crested the top!
|Route Profile for Lune Coal Road Challenge|
Climb number two was heading out of the village of Dent around the 45M mark, called 'Barbondale' which was profile wise similar to Garsdale head but not quite as long. The upside of that climb was a piece of road which dropped down into a valley, literally straight where you could just hit big speed. As you can see from the route profile above, it was about five to six miles long and exhilarating to fly down after a tough couple of climbs.
|Cobbled main street of Dent|
With the wind on our backs we pushed on to a lovely cafe in Kirkby Lonsdale, which fellow rider - Debbie - had up her sleeve, which had a good selection of hot food, cakes and more importantly - tea! Pretty place and very much on the tourist route, very busy. Heading back towards the start point in Caton, we picked the pace up and averaged around 20mph for the five miles running in, which was thoroughly enjoyable.
|Stunning views on the Yorkshire Dales|
June brings some big rides in the diary, so hard days with hilly profiles are a pre-requisite of building fitness and strength. As my training builds I'll be doing hilly rides on a Saturday and flatter rides on a Sunday. With the long Easter holiday here in the UK, it's meant a decent training block of 170 miles (272KM) with 7.5K of ascent (2300M).
You can find the link to the route here. Thanks to Toby for the invite and pictures, plus Debbie for the route and cafe. My Garmin data you can see here.