When is a hill not a hill?

I was pondering where to take my break from work for my 50th bike ride (and more to the point getting to the 750 miles marker) and I settled upon a loop of about 15 miles but in reverse of a couple of previous rides.

The routeĀ features a fair amount of climbing, in the original direction over the ‘Tommy Road’ down to Pendragon Castle, turning left into Nateby (optionally Kirkby Stephen) and then up the long drag that is Ash Fell.

Now Ash Fell when travelling North East to South West (from KS to Ravenstonedale) and measured from Stenkrith to the fell summit is 610 feet of ascent over 3.5 miles, so around 3.5% gradient and that’s a fair amount of puffing and panting after the previous 10 miles of significant undulation, but today the hill turned into it’s own mini Eiger as I tackled it from the opposite direction.

The base of Ash Fell after just 1.5 miles downhill from home gives the legs, the lungs and the heart a triple workout, gaining 310 feet in just 0.7 of a mile, which is an average 8.4% and enough for this old timer to start wishing for a set of ropes, carabiners and a harness.

I’m led to believe that Great Dunn Fell and Hardknott Pass have sections of 25% but I’ll leave those until I’ve mastered correct warm up sessions and consumed at least three Shredded Wheat.

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