ditchling beacon, sussex
Ditchling? More like ditch the bike and walk up! It's got a rep down South and if it was good enough for the Tour of Britain a few years ago, it's good enough for everyone else!
As areas go, the South Downs is quite stunning. The views on a clear day rivals pretty much anything. But obviously you have to get to the top to enjoy them and they do say no pain no gain! Roll yourself out of the actual town of Ditchling and you'll notice from time to time, the ridge of the Downs poking out between the trees.
It's a gentle start which actually helps control your tempo' going into the steeper sections without throwing the gradient into your face. But it never really plateaus. It more ramps up every few hundred metres. The trees line your way up to the left so you can't even take your mind off the grind! The road surface is decent, only hazard is just keeping a look over your shoulder when the road does bend for anyone looking to overtake as there's not many safe overtaking places.
It's a good 5-7min climb depending on your climbing ability so you will be wondering eventually where the top is. The final ramp will give way to a stunning view to your left but the lactic acid will be burning so it's crucial to find a good cadence on these ramps otherwise you'll be dragging yourself up rather than skipping like Froome to the crest of this very popular South coast climb.
Ditchling Beacon, Brighton BN1
Average Gradient: 9.1%
Max. Gradient: 13%
NITP PB: 7.55
NITP Torture Score: 8/10
NITP Pedal Point: The gradient is constant. It's not overly steep but those ramps will upset your rhythm if you don't focus on your gearing and allowing the legs just to spin it easy especially when it comes to the final rise. Get your cadence spot on and you'll come out with a respectable time, otherwise, dream of the fish and chips as you feel that 'vinegar' (lactic acid!) building up in those quads!