If I can anyone can - First HC

MartAstur Posts: 122
edited May 2013 in Road beginners
This post is mainly intended for any beginners out there who are struggling, especially with climbs. I hope it will show that anything is possible if you just stick at it and hope it will provide some encouragment to someone.
8 months ago I started cycling at the ripe old age of 46 after a 25 year break and an equally long 40 a day Marlborough habit. When I started I was nervous going down the hill to town as I wasn't sure I would make it back up. It is only 1.5km long at an average of 5.1% but I only just made it back up.
After that I slowly increased my mileage and the difficulty of hills I climbed. I must admit it was hard at times, riding up hills in blizzards or freezing rain but I stuck at.
Last month I completed my first 100km ride which included almost 2000m of climbs which gave me the confidence to attempt my goal of riding an HC climb, 6 months ahead of schedule. So yesterday I drove to Arriondas 30km away from the summit of Los Lagos de Covadonga in the Picos de Europa in Northern Spain (where I live).
Once on the climb the Garmin gradient meter never seemed to go below 10% and there was one stretch of 900m at a constant 15% gradient. Looking back I'm still not sure how I managed it but I made it to the top without stopping and to be honest never thought once about stopping; although I was extremely relieved to see the lake as I rounded the final bend.
All the way up people in passing cars were shouting encouragement and when at the top several people came up to me and asked if I had really ridden all the way up. I must admit it is an experience I will never forget and I felt a real sense of achievement. 8 months ago if anyone had told me I would be climbing to the top of the famous Lagos de Covadonga by May, I would have laughed in their face and even put some serious money against it. Now I am sitting here thinking I'm sure I can ride it 1kph faster next time.
Well I guess this has been a bit of blowing my own trumpet post but I really do hope someone who has just started draws some encouragement from it.
And by the way, if anyone fancies trying the Lagos de Covadonga I would be only too happy to provide any info. It truly is a stunning ride - I will post some photos this week.


  • elderone
    elderone Posts: 1,410
    kudos to you,what a brilliant effort.Sounds a real killer climb with those gradients.Looking forward to seeing the pics.
    Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori
  • Philly8mt
    Philly8mt Posts: 552
    Fair play to ya ... I'd be giving my trumpet a blow as well! :D
    Still thinking of something clever to say!
  • Inspirational. I have been dithering about whether to attempt tourmalet in June. Mind is now made up. Thank you.
    Some people are like slinkies - not much use for anything, but they bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs.

  • A KIRK
    A KIRK Posts: 64
    Well done, and what makes it nicer to read is that passing cars were shouting encouragement, where as over hear they would have just been shouting abuse.
    2010 GT Series 4 ultegra wheels & brakes
    2008 Claud Butler hard tail not very original any more
  • tomhowells
    tomhowells Posts: 171
    Great work fella - still in dreamland myself, but one day I will do an HC!!
    Boardman 8.9 SLR - Summer
    Holdsworth La Quelda - Commuter
    Moda Intro - Winter
    Planet X Stealth - TT
  • KevChallis
    KevChallis Posts: 646
    fair play that man!! have you kicked the smoking too?

    you quite deserve to blow your own trumpet too :)
    PlanetX Pro Carbon
    Voodoo Bizango
  • mallorcajeff
    mallorcajeff Posts: 1,489
    Nice one, much the same experience for me here in mallorca. Not a climb left on the island for me to do. Dont think.
  • MartAstur
    MartAstur Posts: 122
    Thanks for the kudos. Just uploaded some photos :)
    So true about the UK drivers. Here in Asturias people have a real respect for cyclists, well on tough climbs they have, on the flats they are probably the same. Forgot to mention how great it was riding up a climb with Contador and other top riders names written on the road. Didn't make me go any faster though :S
    Yep, gave up smoking too although I felt like smoking a cigar when I got to the top :)
  • TommyB61
    TommyB61 Posts: 103
    Well done! I'd love to tackle an HC climb one day.
  • ct8282
    ct8282 Posts: 414
    Pics or it didn't happen. :D

    And, well done mate. Top work.
  • goonz
    goonz Posts: 3,106
    Excellent work! I struggle to get up over speed bumps sometimes so that is some achievement!

    Lets have some pics!!!
    Scott Speedster S20 Roadie for Speed
    Specialized Hardrock MTB for Lumps
    Specialized Langster SS for Ease
    Cinelli Mash Bolt Fixed for Pain
    n+1 is well and truly on track
    Strava http://app.strava.com/athletes/1608875
  • mrfpb
    mrfpb Posts: 4,569
    Fantastic achievment. I still struggle on a short 13% gradient on.my regular route (bug I ride a hybrid rqther than a road bike). Thanks for posting, you do inspire people like me. I' m doing my first 100km this summer (London to Brighton) and trying to get some practice on hills. If I don't drop dead on the night, I'll look at a 100 mile ride for my next target (I may also treat myself to a better bike).
  • MartAstur
    MartAstur Posts: 122
    Here's a pic! and I have posted some more in the photo gallery in the ACTIVE section.

    Good luck with the 100km ride @mrfpb. I still struggle up short 13% climbs too, I have just learnt to struggle for a longer amount of time :)
  • markhewitt1978
    markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    Started cycling last July, and a month ago did the climb from Port de Pollenca to the Puig Major tunnel and down to Soller, in Mallorca -- stopped many many times however and in that direction is not an HC climb just a few 3rd and 4th.

    From Soller up to the tunnel however *is* HC and I hope to go back some day and do that; I've already cycled down it after all ;), But it was long enough going up in the car, cycling up and not stopping seems impossible to me, at the moment!
  • supermurph09
    supermurph09 Posts: 2,471
    If you have a garmin can you upload to Strava, would like to look at your route. Cheers.
  • southdownswolf
    southdownswolf Posts: 1,525
    I would imagine that this is the Strava segment that you need to view. http://app.strava.com/segments/826228

    p.s. well done to the OP :D
  • MartAstur
    MartAstur Posts: 122
    I would imagine that this is the Strava segment that you need to view. http://app.strava.com/segments/826228

    p.s. well done to the OP :D

    Thanks! For some reason I didn't register on that segment, they have put in a new round about so maybe the route has changed slightly.

    Here is my ride http://app.strava.com/activities/53973315

    and here are two of the segments: http://app.strava.com/segments/4111851 and http://app.strava.com/segments/3242556 :)
  • supermurph09
    supermurph09 Posts: 2,471
    Fantastic! What was the descent like? Much prefer climbing!
  • MartAstur
    MartAstur Posts: 122
    Fantastic! What was the descent like? Much prefer climbing!
    Fast! as there aren't many hairpin bends. I got slowed down by cars, actually had to overtake one :) I wasn't too bothered about being slowed down as like you I prefer climbing. starts to get a bit scary when you pass 60kph. :shock:
  • fishyweb
    fishyweb Posts: 173
    Excellent riding! I can only dream of managing a climb like that. I have a few Cat4s in my area, and they knock the stuffing out of me!
    Member of http://www.UKnetrunner.co.UK - the greatest online affiliated running club
  • markhewitt1978
    markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    fishyweb wrote:
    Excellent riding! I can only dream of managing a climb like that. I have a few Cat4s in my area, and they knock the stuffing out of me!

    I LOL at Cat 4, almost every hill around here seems to be a Cat 4.
  • MartAstur
    MartAstur Posts: 122
    fishyweb wrote:
    Excellent riding! I can only dream of managing a climb like that. I have a few Cat4s in my area, and they knock the stuffing out of me!

    I still suffer up CAT 4's. I think I got up it because I was mentally prepared for it rather then physically :? I certainly could never run as well as you do (peaked at your strava), 100 meters and I need the paramedics.