Still can’t get over that hill

Due to the frustrating nature of my shifts I couldn’t race this Tuesday, nor are there any weekend races to be had nearby this weekend or last. Which means I’ve been limited to a bit of training to keep my fitness up.

I hate training rides. I find it mentally boring and get annoyed at how much time it consumes. So I’ve taken to doing 30 to 60 minute rides in and around Central London to liven it up and give me the bonus of fast moving traffic (where available) to keep me on my toes. Mostly this consists of riding from Acton over to Islington to my girlfriend’s place. On a good day it’s 35 minutes, on a bad one more like 50. This consists of a couple of uphill lumps and plenty of fast flat and false flats.

The first lump is up Holland Park Avenue, which is nothing to write about in your guide to the great climbs of Europe but it’s long enough to charge up hard when the lights are in your favour. Call it a long interval if you will. On a good day I can crest the top breathing hard but with my legs still not quite at their limit, on an average one I run out of puff just as I can see the end in sight.



From there’s it’s fast, fast, fast from Notting Hill through to Kings Cross via Marylebone Road and Euston Road. I like to treat this stretch as a bit of a burn up and a mini time trial and confidence builder for riding in among fast-moving traffic and in close proximity to things.

Then there’s the one I can’t crack: Pentonville Road. So far I’ve tried going steady, I’ve tried hammering it, I’ve tried going slow. None of them gets me to the top without tying up. Consistently I get as far as the lights at Rodney Street before the burning sensation kicks in and I start to tie up. Halfway to the lights at Amwell/Penton Street the lights start to dim and I’m struggling. By the time I reach the lights I’m clinging on and just trying to roll over the top.

Is it just the case that I’m never going to get over there without hurting like hell? I wish it wasn’t but things haven’t improved in the last month, so I’m starting to lose faith that they will. Man, I wish I could climb, or at least ride hills with the belief and ability to get over them ratehr than fade halfway up.

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  • Steff

    Pentonville road is an utter, utter git for some reason. I suspect it’s just that it’s slightly steeper than it appears. Your description sounds horribly familiar.