a few weeks ago, after following simon on twitter during his build up to release, i finally got my hands on a copy of his book: the 100 greatest cycling climbs (a road cyclist’s guide to britain’s hills).
this excellent little pocket-guide is exactly what it sounds, listing some real classics from around the country. you can read reviews elsewhere and even see many of the pages here. i like that the descriptions are brief but detailed enough to let you know what to expect. there are only so many ways to describe a road going upwards, but all credit to simon for making descriptions interesting enough to read even if you aren’t familiar with the hill he’s describing.
it seems that the most popular section of the book with the people who have commented on blogs and tweets, is the ispy section at the back where you can fill in when you rode each hill.
as with all top 100 lists, they’ll never cover everyone’s favourite. i knew many of the hills listed and was surprised at a couple of the exceptions (my favourite, the struggle from ambleside to kirkstone – the climb is included but from the other direction).
i was most surprised that the one hill included in my county of leicestershire was one i’d never heard of (or ridden). terrace hill in the vale of belvoir.
so tonight after work, i rode there for a look (and a ride up it of course). the 100km round trip was well worth it. i should have paid a little more attention to simon’s description though as i approached the hill from the wrong end and rode down it first, spoiling the surprise a little.
i see why he included it though. short and sharpish, with a couple of sharp bends on it so you can’t see the top. the climb gets a 1/10 in the book. bealach-na-ba in the highlands gets 11/10!