Cyclists attempt tough buttress challenge

Sam Robinson, 13, on route to the top

Sam Robinson, 13, on route to the top

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Cyclists wanting a sharp, short challenge got just that when they entered the “Up The Buttress” event.

It might be only 350 metres but it’s not for the unfit or faint hearted.

The ancient cobbled incline linking Hebden Bridge into Heptonstall is a one-in-three gradient in places.

Organiser Mark Alker, of Todmorden-based cycling magazine Singletrack, said the best way to tackle the hill is to get into a rhythm and stick it out through the pain barrier.

“It’s no mean feat getting to the top without getting off,” he said.

“It’s painful and the hardest thing is to keep breathing and continue all the way. It might take only two minutes but it’s still an endurance.”

Richard Gate, 46, of Guiseley and from the AlbaRosa Cycling Club, was attempting the challenge for the first time.

He said with the steepest part at the bottom, getting a good start was vital.

“It’s tough and a real challenge,” he said.

“You want to stand on the pedals, but if you do, you lose traction.”

Among the spectators was Chris Crossland, of Cyclists’ Touring Club Calderdale, who said The Buttress challenged the best of cyclists.

“It’s an incredibly steep, cobbled road with very rough setts and when wet quite often slippery,” he said.

“But, it’s rideable and I think best left to youngsters with mountain bikes, limitless energy and enthusiasm for the lung-busting, sharp, short hill.”

There were over 50 entries with adults starting at the packhorse bridge and youngsters part-way up the hill.

They set off individually every couple of minutes and crowds cheered them on.

Entrants had a chance of winning a trophy or raffle prizes including a Clockwork bicycle and £300 of Hope kit.

The event was organised as part of the South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival.

The festival runs through to September 22 and in total consists of 160 events.

Cycling is a focal point this year as the area gears up for the Tour de France next July and several rides were organised during the last week.

Hikes and nature walks have also been included across the South Pennines.

Future local events:

Tomorrow Sept 14: 12 miles, Brighouse Boundary Walk Part One (10.30 am start Thornhills Beck Lane).

Sunday 15: Shibden Spinner Sportive (10 am Shibden Park, Halifax); 10 miles, Heptonstall Moor (10.30 am Clough Foot car park); 14 miles Brighouse Boundary Walk Part Two (10.30 am Thornhill Beck Lane); 12 miles, The Blue Pig Trot, (10.30 am Blue Pig WMC, New Bride, Midgehole); 3 miles, Small Plants in a Big Rucksack (11 am, Ogden Water car park).

Monday 16: 5.5 miles, Reaps, Raistrick and Reservoirs (10.30 am Packhorse Inn, Widdop.

Tuesday 17: 11.5 miles, Boulsworth Hill from The Dark Side (9.30 am, Clough Foot car park, Slack Road); 7.5 miles, The Bridestones (10 am Todmorden Sports Centre); 7 miles, Stoodley Pike Heritage Walk (10.30 am Lumbutts Methodist Church); South Coast Sprints Roller Racing (7 pm, Old Gate Pub, Hebden Bridge).

Thursday 19: Denes and Dales, 9 miles, (10.30 am Packhorse Inn, Widdop).

Friday 20: Pennine Way through the South Pennines, Bronte Country, 13 miles, (9 am Hebden Bridge Railway Station).

Saturday 21: 1 mile, Magical Minibeasts, (10 am, Elland Park Wood Crematorium); 6 miles, Small Plants in a Big Landscape, (10 am Hardcastle Crags car park); Explore Scammonden, various distances (10.30 am Woodedge car park, Chapel Hill Lane); 11 miles, Historic Widdop, (10.30 am Widdop Reservoir car park); 6 miles, Twin Peaks of Calderdale - The Two Crow Hills (10.45 am, bridge over Rochdale Canal at Brearley).

Sunday 22: 7 miles, Friends of Dales Rail Hebden Bridge Circular (10 am Hebden Bridge Station); 45 miles, Equinox Celebration Ride to the Stars, (9 am Mytholmroyd Community Centre); 14 miles, Todmorden Circular with The Friends of Dales Rail, (10 am Todmorden Station); 11 miles, On The Hoof, (Widdop Reservoir car park); 7.5 miles, Follow the Trail!, (10.30 am Visitor Centre, Hebden Bridge); 4.5 miles, In The Footsteps of Ted Hughes, (Hardcastle Crags car park); 7 miles, Gaddings Dam and Langfield Common, (12.30 pm Myrtle Street car park, Todmorden).

More details at: www.walkandridefestival.co.uk