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Mow Cop v Cat & Fiddle v Winnat's Pass

nochekmatenochekmate Posts: 3,460
edited December 2010 in Road beginners
Just signed up for the Cheshire Cat - along with about 2500 others!!

I have ridden up the Cat & Fiddle from Macclesfield a couple of times and enjoyed it and I have tried to ride up Winnat's Pass (in the Tour of the Peaks last October) and found it incredibly hard - foul weather did not help - I was in the lowest gear as I went past the cattle grid at the bottom!

Having signed up for the Cheshire Cat (which I will be doing after a week's skiing, which may not be a great idea), how difficult is the climb up Mow Cop? How does it rank in riders' opinions with the Cat & Fiddle and the likes of Winnat's??

Just trying to prepare mentally. My best bike has a standard 53/39 chainset, can I cope with this on 'Cat' or should I resort to the compact on my second bike?

The course profile does not look too bad after the first 30 miles or so.

Posts

  • a_n_ta_n_t Posts: 2,011
    mow cop is only really steep for 50m or so, easier than winnats.
    Manchester wheelers

    PB's
    10m 20:21 2014
    25m 53:18 20:13
    50m 1:57:12 2013
    100m Yeah right.
  • a_n_ta_n_t Posts: 2,011
    oh and i'd say use the compact unless you like walking!
    Manchester wheelers

    PB's
    10m 20:21 2014
    25m 53:18 20:13
    50m 1:57:12 2013
    100m Yeah right.
  • abr1966abr1966 Posts: 54
    I have found Winnats and Mow Cop equally difficult! Cat and Fiddle is longer but steadier and not too steep, Mow Cop is the shortest I think but does have some very steep parts and from my recollection the steepest is right near the top ( although there are a couple of ways up), I'm not sure of the Cheshire cat route.
  • WappygixerWappygixer Posts: 1,396
    I find the Cat & Fiddle pretty easy and can get up it on my 50th ring with a 23 rear.
    Winnats depends on the weather.I went over it the other day and it was howling a gale right down it and was impossible for me to ride it.On a calmer day its not to bad but still hurts.
    I did Mow cop last weekend for the first time and like its been said above its short but steep.I found it much easier than Winnats.
  • jthefjthef Posts: 226
    I have done both hills last year and W innats pass where I walked up half of it (I am a bit heavy ok :( ) and rode up all but 50 m very steep bit at the end of Mow cop.
  • Steve_b77Steve_b77 Posts: 1,680
    Is Winnats pass the one that comes out of Castleton where the turn off for the Blue John Mines is?
  • nochekmatenochekmate Posts: 3,460
    Steve_b77 wrote:
    Is Winnats pass the one that comes out of Castleton where the turn off for the Blue John Mines is?

    Yes, that sounds like the one! Thanks for other comments by the way. It appears that in order of severity it is:

    1. Winnats
    2. Mow Cop
    3. Cat & Fiddle (not that steep obviously but more a long drag)

    Hope the weather for the Cheshire Cat is better than that on the Tour of the Peaks!
  • andy_wrxandy_wrx Posts: 3,396
    The Cat&Fiddle is 7 milesfrom Arighi Bianchi to the C&F pub, but is not very steep and isn't a climb all the way up, it has several flat parts and even a downhill bit where I get up to 25+mph, so has plenty of places to recover.

    Winnats is considerably shorter, but is relentless all the way up and no chance to recover. Hard,

    Mow Cop is harder than the Cat&Fiddle but nothing like as tough as Winnats.
    It's about a mile up from the level crossing at the bottom but is only 1:4 for 100yds or so towards the top, the rest is considerably less steep.

    Having been up it twice in the last fortnight, here's my way to do it
    . Starting at the cattle grid, the first section is blind up a couple of bends through trees - don't get excited, take it steady though here, do not rush up it and go into the red or you'll regret it...
    . When you come out of the trees and can see the rest of the hill, take a steady pace and work your way up.
    . The steep ramp towards the top looks like a wall from further down and many people will be walking, they'll just look up at it, be overwhelmed by it and climb off.
    . But if you try to keep a decent rhythm and not rush things, get to the Cheshire View pub with your breathing under control, then you can get out of the saddle and monster your way up the 100yds or so of steep 1:4 relatively easily - get to it in the red, with ragged breathing and screaming legs and you won't.
    . Traction is poor on the tarmac (particularly if wet) and there's a manhole cover which is very slippery, so avoid that and keep some weight over the rear wheel to stop wheelspin
    . After the steep ramp it levels off considerably, so just spin slowly to recover, then left at the top, along a flat bit, right at the end and the final little climb to the 'proper top' is easy
    . Then the descent down to Congleton is a screamer ! Just take it easy for oncoming traffic.
  • nochekmatenochekmate Posts: 3,460
    Thaks for the above tips - will be plenty hard enough by the sounds of things!
  • moolarbmoolarb Posts: 83
    I'd use the compact mate. I don't know what rear cassette you're using but you'd have to be a strong climber to get up the steep bit on Mow Cop with a 39x25 or similar.

    As others have said, it's the short steep bit near the pub at the top that's the killer. The trouble is, by that point you've been climbing for nearly a mile (I'd say probably 10-15%, though there is a steepish bit about half way up too). Then when you see the steep bit up ahead it just looks like a brick wall. I think half the battle is mental.

    I've tried it twice, and failed both times. The first time I got to the steep bit and bailed after a couple of pedal strokes. Just didn't have the power to keep my momentum. The second time I bottled it and turned left before the pub, though I had just cycled there from Wilmslow via the Peaks (Langley, Wincle, Macc Forest, Congleton etc).

    C&F is very different, just a long slog. I think it's famous because of the pub at the top and the fact that it's a long steady climb on a decent (though busy) road. Long drags like that are not that common in this country, so it's featured in races, charity rides etc.

    Winnats is a censored . I've failed that once, but again I'd done a long hilly ride to get there. I'd say it's more of a consistent 15-20% so it's tough, but there aren't any stupidly steep bits like Mow Cop.

    I'd say Winnats is the hardest, then Mow Cop, then C&F.

    If you want to make C&F harder then start in Bollington up Blaze Hill then up and over Pym Chair (there's a couple of really steep bits that way) - then it drops down to a reservoir before a long slog up past Derbyshire bridge and up to the main road near the pub. I've done that loads and it's one of my favourite routes.
  • nochekmatenochekmate Posts: 3,460
    Compact defintely looks the order of the day rather than the 39/25 which is as low as I can go on number 1 bike. I fear that the 34/25 may not be enough either for the steep section on Mow Cop.

    As a former 'runner', I was never at my best when the going got tough, so mental strength is a worry eg. never managed to RUN the full 26.2 miles of a marathon depsite having a respectable PB of 3:15 in London.

    Oh well I'll soon find out!
  • lukasranlukasran Posts: 53
    I encountered winnats on the tour of the peak last year, highly recomened by the way, and have done cat and fiddle which is actually easy peasy. winnats was a bit of a shock for me in terms of severity. also no rest time and traffic disrupting the flow. there are plenty of distractions on the way up like climbers and hikers who all cheer you on. however i was in the lake district last weekend (in car) and simply had to see what all the fuss was about hardknott pass. i have now seen it, i have driven it, i still dont believe it and i am filled with self doubt for the first time. seriously it looks terrific.
  • ex-pat scotex-pat scot Posts: 939
    My old club used to organise tour of the peaks, which started in Castleton and went straight up Winnats. We used to recommend a bottom of at least 39 x 23 (the days before compacts!) or x25. This was a hard-as-nails 1&2 Cat race, and there were guys at that level who couldn't get up on those gears.
    Basically - if you get baulked at any point and have to slow, then you're [email protected]@ered. Cars come down in the middle of the (narrow) road, and if you have to slow to avoid one then you've no chance of getting the momentum back.

    Cat n Fiddle is just plain long, but not hard. Don't blast it. Treat it as a mini alpine, and concentrate on grinding up.
    Mow Cop has short sharp sections- maintain momentum until you get to a flatter section to recover.

    Hardknott and Wrynose are something else. They are difficult enough to drive up, never mind (try and) ride up!

    Other "mentions in despatches" go to Honister (from Seatoller side)- bottom section after the first left hand bend, Newlands pass (from Buttermere) - top section just before summit right hand bend, with Whinlatter (from Braithwaite) being easier.
    Commute: Langster -Singlecross - Brompton S2-LX

    Road: 95 Trek 5500 -Look 695 Aerolight eTap - Boardman TTe eTap

    Offroad: Pace RC200 - Dawes Kickback 2 tandem - Tricross - Boardman CXR9.8 - Ridley x-fire
  • sturmeysturmey Posts: 964
    Coming down off Mow Cop is probably scarier than going up. Serious potential for brown trouser moments especially when road is wet/damp.
  • freehubfreehub Posts: 4,257
    I did Winnats today for the first time, it makes Mow Cop seem easy! Winnats is brutal, one of the last main hills of the day consisting of 101 miles and 13,000ft or so of climbing, I was knackered and wanting to get off on Winnats but I made it up, meter by meter, I did a race yesterday my legs where feeling it from the first mile, I was in 34-21, I thought to myself, shall I shift up to either 23 or 25 cog? I thought nah, I don't want to make it easier, harder the better, providing it's not so hard I end up walking up it!, I'd have rather used 39-25, Cat and Fiddle is a nice gradient where you can keep quite a good speed up, although it's a [email protected] if you've got a headwind, I remember once, it was so strong it was like my face was going to get ripped off :lol:, 10mph grinding up it was not nice!
  • fudbeerfudbeer Posts: 118
    Have been doing winnats for the last 35 years and it never gets easier!!

    As many have said the reason its so hard is the extreme section is relentless add a bit of head wind into that and you have the perfect storm.

    Geez the times I have simply not believed I was in the easiest gear!!

    The feeling when you reach the grid at the top "priceless"
    Currently I have been mostly riding a Specialized Roubaix Comp
  • ChiggyChiggy Posts: 261
    P1021_26-11-10.jpg

    No joke, this is the set-up if the route goes upwards from Speedwell.

    I have a similar set-up on a bike in a certain city-by-the-bay, across the bridge from the Marin Headlands.

    This set-up is for Audax ( slow relaxed riding ). If I need to get a stink on, I've trimmed the OE 44 ring to fit where the 32 ring is. That gives the bike a 44 x 11 top ( 108" ), high enough when spinning at 90+ rpm.

    The 44/22, 11 - 25 gearing is a kinda 'Alpine' set.

    A damned sight more versatile than any 'Compact', and half the price,,,, :wink:
  • GarzGarz Posts: 1,155
    I keep seeing this picture alot.. :?
  • ChiggyChiggy Posts: 261
    P080109_1509.jpg

    Do you remember the photo from my city commute?
  • sfichelesfichele Posts: 605
    I've done Winnats quite a few times and on my very first attempt I fell into the usual trap of trying to go too fast to begin with and then blowing up. For me the only way to do Winnats is to go really slowly from the outset. Its always the same in sportives you see lots of people bombing past you at the start only to pass them walking later on as it gets steeper and steeper.

    I'd definitely go with the compact or put a 27/28 on the back if you can
  • those three hills are just great, i went up winnats pass after we took a wrong turn in the rain in 1980 on touring bike with a 59 inch fixed wheel, and saddle bag , nice view from the top,
    mow cop aint that bad , theres a pub at the top to get a pie down ya, same with the cat and fiddle - i remember once going up the cat and fiddle three times in a road race,

    the hill to fear round there is gun hill , after a load of miles in your legs , that can really hurt.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,038
    etapechamp wrote:
    those three hills are just great, i went up winnats pass after we took a wrong turn in the rain in 1980 on touring bike with a 59 inch fixed wheel, and saddle bag , nice view from the top,
    mow cop aint that bad , theres a pub at the top to get a pie down ya, same with the cat and fiddle - i remember once going up the cat and fiddle three times in a road race,

    the hill to fear round there is gun hill , after a load of miles in your legs , that can really hurt.

    Respect for Gun Hill, but hardly enough for fear tho'... it's just another g'damn hill on the way home with another 2 after that.
  • andy_wrxandy_wrx Posts: 3,396
    Gun Hill is probably easier than even Mow Cop, certainly far far easier than Winnats
  • luccalucca Posts: 51
    You get to Mow Cop after only 16 mile on the Cheshire Cat so should still have fresh legs. Steep at the bottom, sit down take a rest in the middle then up out of the saddle to get up the last 100 yds. Find it easier than Winnetts and living very close to Gun Hill I cant see why its feared that much.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,038
    lucca wrote:
    You get to Mow Cop after only 16 mile on the Cheshire Cat so should still have fresh legs. Steep at the bottom, sit down take a rest in the middle then up out of the saddle to get up the last 100 yds. Find it easier than Winnetts and living very close toI cant see why its feared that much.
    It isnt.. on ly the speed they go up it in the ToB after 3 hours hard racing
  • luccalucca Posts: 51
    Agreed ! I was stood on cheddleton bank, they were motoring (Damn there skinny asses!)
  • Wappygixer wrote:
    I find the Cat & Fiddle pretty easy and can get up it on my 50th ring with a 23 rear.Winnats depends on the weather.I went over it the other day and it was howling a gale right down it and was impossible for me to ride it.On a calmer day its not to bad but still hurts.
    I did Mow cop last weekend for the first time and like its been said above its short but steep.I found it much easier than Winnats.

    You are much harder than me! I dont thing I would walk up it with the bike next me me in the 50 ring!!!! :lol:
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