Location: North Newbald Hill
Height Gain: 69m
Average Gradient: 6%
Max. Gradient: 10%
Difficulty Score: 26
Table Position: 22nd
Date of Attempt: 15th July 2012
North Newbald Hill, or Burgate, is a hill I’ve never managed to climb, even on a mountain bike. The hill can be broken down into four separate climbs making up the total distance of 1.25km, rising 69m, averaging at 6%, which doesn’t sound like much, but to me it is!
The first kick straight out of the village is a steep ramp lasting around 250m, which then levels off and moves slightly down hill to the base of the next incline.
The second climb is the hardest and longest section, at about 500m in length it seems to last forever, hitting the maximum gradient of 10% as you round a shallow right hand turn, before levelling off.
The third climb is relatively easy in comparison, fatigue being your worst enemy at this point, the road gently moves left before steeply climbing to the cross roads with Whin Lane and Littlewood Road.
The final climb towards High Hunsley is relatively shallow and you can easily stretch your legs to finish the climb strongly, taking care to stop before the busy junction.
It was very late in the evening and the fog began to descend over North Newbald, as if mother nature was tucking the village in for the night. At the bottom of the climb I set my stall out early and used a low gear as I cycled out of the village, I knew what was coming and if I was to get to the top I had to take it easy and save energy.
As I rode from safety of the village and into the cold grasp of the fog, it seemed almost eerily quiet, without any kind of view of the surrounding countryside I found the first part of the climb easier than expected, as all I wanted to do was get off the road as I didn’t have lights and although it’s only 8pm on a summers evening, it might as well be midnight.
After the first ramp, the road levels out and ever so slightly runs down hill toward the base of the next climb. Approaching at a decent speed I managed to take some momentum into the hill, however this didn’t last long as I had to get out of my saddle to get around the steep right hander, before the road once again let’s up.
The third incline wasn’t going to stop my progress, yet I was tired after my earlier efforts and I took little or no speed into the hill, gently spinning my way towards the next plateau.
Although it was a struggle at no point did I feel like I wouldn’t get to the top, I just plodded along taking small sections at a time, splitting the hill down and working my legs and bike hard. It took around 12 minutes of climbing before reaching the turning with Littlewood Lane, at which point the climb continues, but at a shallower gradient and before long reaching the summit at High Hunsley.
North Newbald Hill isn’t the most difficult of climbs, it never gets that steep, but it’s deserving of a place in the hill chart and is an excellent training hill for the tougher climbs.
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