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Hill 5 - Ashurst Beacon

mr_poll's picture
on Mon, 21/09/2015 - 20:00

With the club hill climb around the corner I thought it time to resurrect my hill climb blog and what a fitting hill for me personally, Ashurst Beacon. I first starting riding with the club in 2011 and by the Autumn had become a regular with Ste Warner's B rides. Soon an announcement came out on the old club forum that the club would have it's annual hill climb on Ashurst Beacon, from Lees Lane to the Prince William pub. Unsure what to expect I turned up at the shop, got a number from Matt pinned it to my back and joined all three groups in a mass ride to the start. If I recall correctly one person was missing, James Edge, he rocked up to the start after everyone else respledant in the club skin suit. Fully aero, you may think he was taking it seriously, however his prep involved a night out in Ormskirk and he gave off a scent of eau de sambucca. I was soon sucked into the competitive spirit as I copied everyone else who were busy shedding weight off their bikes. My hill climb was, as most years, disappointing. I finished feeling I could have done more, or in cycling parlance I left something out on the road. This happened as I didn’t know the climb, I thought after the first pub there was a way to go, I held back only to look up to see Mick shouting me on, I sprinted over the line hardly out of breath. Lesson learned, know the climb and go full gas all the time.

How to find it

As with a few of the previous climbs featured in this series, head out of Ormskirk towards Parbold on the A5209, as you leave Newburgh you come to a mini roundabout, take a right here and you start the whole climb (the club hill climb starts later).

What to expect

At just over 2 miles pacing is important, but the ever changing gradient makes that difficult. The start is tough, if you have had to stop for traffic, drop a couple of gears get out of the saddle and power up a short rise averaging 9%. However it isn't long before before the gradient drops to a more pleasant 3% click up a gear or two and get some speed up. Before long you arrive at the junction with Lees Lane and you make the start of the 2011 (and rumoured to be the start of the 2015 edition).

After this point the road levels and even dips down in parts, click up another gear and build your momentum. After approximately one mile the road twist and turns, the gradient starts to move upwards only to 3% initially you might not feel it but as the road bends left you climb past a few houses the gradient bites further and hits 5% your legs will be feeling it now. The road again levels again slightly, before hitting 7% just ahead you can see Dalton church and a flat section with a 90 degree turn offering much needed rest for your legs.

If your legs feel good then it is head down and power around the corner before taking on the tree lined final part. The final section is, in some ways, what makes Ashurst such a popular and nasty climb. After a mile and a half of constantly changing gradients the hill makes its finally assault on your muscles. The trees enclose the road keeping it in darkness, as you enter the shade the road pitches upwards hitting between 7 and 9 per cent all the way past one pub, shortly after you will see the Prince William pub. Push on the over last few metres and pull into the car park to get your breathe back or to collapse in exhaustation.

Who to beat

The Strava segment can be found here at the time of writing, for current HMCC riders our very own Tom Hanlon has the quickest time with 8 min 1 second. The KOM is held by local climbing machine Paul Roby.







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