Going up the Wall

Posted: August 7, 2015 in Cycling, Tricycle
Tags: , , , , , ,
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The Car park in the clouds

I like Cornish Pasties. I like them a lot. They have to be freshly made and piping hot. I really like the combination of meat, potato and pastry. It is a food of the gods and one that given the chance I would consume in ever increasing amounts until I took on the shape and form of a Pasty eating monster. To guard against the possibility of a dietary based full body collapse I rarely Pasties; but when I do I like to feel that I’ve earnt it. That’s why I decided to cycle down to Alfriston today, to stop at the village store and post office to eat a Pasty.

Between my house and Alfriston is the Ashdown Forest, which has a significant amount of up. As I’m preparing myself for a Trike event in a few weeks it seemed only natural that I should be riding Gracie, however she can be a little temperamental when going up steep hills. She has the tendency to skitter across the road and generally complain. I’m not that fond of climbing either but there was the promise of a pasty so up the hill we had to go.

Our chosen route took us up to the forest via The Wall, it’s a bit of a local classic climb, long and steep and usually covered in cyclists proving their hill climbing credentials. Today however the roads seem devoid of cyclists, probably because they were all taking part in Ride London 100. I’ve been up the wall many times, I’ve done it on road bikes, mountain bikes and even a fixie, it never gets any easier and I never get any faster. Today’s tactic was slow and steady, which, come to think of it is always the tactic.

The climb starts gently enough and never really gets any steeper; it’s just long, and wearing. It keeps going sucking the energy from my legs. I have little markers to tell me how far I’ve got: the entrance to a farm, the start of a footpath, a drive way. Somewhere along the bottom half I heard the noise of two cyclists screaming down at breakneck speed, just blurs of Lycra and cogs. In the middle there is a small section that feels less steep, I’m sure it’s just an illusion. All of a sudden there is the brow, the road disappears from view and is replaced by a blue sky. Sadly the road to heaven looks very, very steep. A last effort and BAM!: The top, a car park, an ice cream van and some road signs.  Gracie and I had made it, I was covered in sweat but Gracie had not complained. I wore the grin of someone who really doesn’t do hills but had done one anyway.

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Road signs of delight: every direction is down

Our prize for all the effort was an effortless cruise along the top of the forest. It’s a beautiful place covered in heather and bracken. From the top you can see both the both the North and South Downs and plenty more besides. This is a perfect road to cycle on a warm clear day. It is only enhanced by the knowledge that from the top every route is downhill.

The pasties in Alfristion tasted wonderful, enhanced by the encounter with the wall and a lovely long cycle.

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The whole purpose of the ride, to stop here and devour a Pasty

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