Castle Craig: Whatever goes up, must come down. Fast!

As a practicing bicyclist, I dislike climbing.  I’m not a racer, and the cols of the Tour de France do not call my name.  I like drifting along, enjoying the scenery.

Nonetheless, I decided yesterday to take a little hike over to Castle Craig.  Castle Craig is not my usual kind of ride.  It’s certainly scenic:

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But it’s also reasonably steep:

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The top photo was shot from the road on the Eatern side of the reservoir, just north of the island, if I remember correctly.  Note that the map leaves off most of the trip from Cheshire due to its zoom level, but that the terrain profile includes the whole trip.

So why did I do this?

In part, because I’m still trying out my leg.  You wonder, when you have a new piece put into you, whether your hip really is going to work as well as you hoped.  I think this will be my last test, because the answer appears to be “yes.”

I now have a pretty good idea that I can climb any hill, including some I’ve been putting off even trying.  Yes, I will stop on the way up a few times, but that’s OK.  And when you go up, the view is worth it:

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The other reason I went up was to come down.  I like going fast, and as you can see from the map, the road that goes from ~500 feet to around ~950 feet is pretty straight (on the way up, this is one of the hardest things to deal with, because you can see just how far you still have to go).  It’s also in reasonably good condition, and there are few cars (a number of walkers, though).

I wanted to go down that road.  So I did, but using my brakes most of the way.  The top speed I’ve ever done on a bike was just north of 53 MPH, but that was a good while ago.  This time, I limited myself to 35 or so, and was very glad I had installed excellent new salmon Kool-Stop brake pads that morning!  When I’m coming down a fast road, I alternate front and rear brakes so that I don’t heat up the rims very much.  Good pads are essential for this.

Sitting next to the tower, eating the lunch I’d brought along, was a very cool experience.  I think I may have to do it again sometime.  It’s a beautiful site to see.

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