cheddar gorge, cheddar
The climbs we have conquered so far have some sort of characteristic which sets them apart from each other with it either being the view or the gradient, but this one is an unique climb in it's own right...this is Cheddar Gorge.
To be fair, the whole Mendips tour was probably centred around Cheddar Gorge, Liam, Chris, Sam and I all climbed it twice both in different weather conditions. Getting to the town of Cheddar is relatively easy and if you come from the North, you can enjoy the fast descent of Shipham Rd before rolling into what can only be described as a seaside town. The town itself is cute with a small river flowing through but you are surrounded by tourist shops, was expecting to see beachballs and flip flops for sale!
The ascent starts relatively easy as the gorge opens itself up. It's impressive. You just don't feel like you're in rural England. On the day it was mucky, the climb was eerily quiet with just the birds flying in between the slate and limestone cliff faces. The sunnier day was full of motorbikes with the roar of their engines rebounding of the rocks.
Our companions flew up the climbs on day 1 whereas we wanted to scout the route (couldn't keep up with them anyway!). First half of this climb is where the steep gradient lives. You will hit 16% mainly in a specific hairpin whilst bearing left which may cause you to get out of the saddle but that's it. There's no real kick, it plateaus there on after making it a deceptively quick climb if you want it to be. Road surface is decent throughout and when you leave the main cliff faces, you'll navigate through a windy wooded section before being spat out on the open plains on top. People often talk about bucket list for climbs, Alpe D'Huez, Ventoux etc. If you can't get abroad, stay at home then and tick Cheddar off your list, excuse the cheesy pun...no that was it!
Cheddar Gorge, Cheddar, BS27
Average Gradient: 4.6%
Max. Gradient: 16%
NIPT PB: 13.55
NITP Torture Score: 6/10
NITP Pedal Point: It's a lengthy climb but apart from a 16% left turn, it's a climb you can leave everything on. The first half is steeper and you'll be tempted to get lost in your surroundings but if you're looking for a quick climb, quick something in reserve for when you hit the wooded section because this is when the gradient eases out and you can go full gas. Only thing to be aware of is being stuck behind cars going up and any drivers looking to overtake on blind bends...