There is some sort of perverse pleasure us cyclists seem to get dragging ourselves up steep hills. Sweat dripping off our noses, eyes bulging, legs burning and panting furiously, it all makes for a pretty picture when you reach the top. Just look at me – all fat and red in the face. The sense of achievement and the thrill of the descent must be why we do it.
It must also be why people from the ‘flat lands’ of England bring their bikes to Wales so they to might get a few miles climbing followed by the fun of sweeping through the bends on the way down.
About six miles from Gliffaes is a famous climb up the shoulder of the Blorenge. The Blorenge is the large hill that dominates Abergavenny to the south. The route is know as ‘The Tumble’ and is in fact the B4246 from Govilon to Blaenavon. The climb is about 3 miles long and gains around 1200 feet in height finishing at a place called ‘Keepers Pond’. The climb is often included in the Tour of Britain and various races around South Wales.
It starts off quite gradually going up through the woods but once out of the trees the gradient kicks up through the open moor, if you have the energy to look around you the views are spectacular. Just don’t pick the warmest day of the year to head up there like my friend Rob Lewis and I did this week.
I will be more than happy to show you a route from the hotel that that takes in The Tumble and one or two other well know climbs. If it looks like I might be able to keep up with you then I could be persuaded to come with you.