OK so I have exaggerated the scale here, but this is what the 4.5 miles from Church Stretton to Asterton feels like. The climb probably lives up to its 9/10 rating in the 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs although knowing the profile certainly helps – it starts with a steep 20% section and then calms down. Knowing this, you can mentally prepare yourself, knowing that it is going to get easier. Climbing on a cool day certainly helped, but descending the other side is scarey enough even if the road isn’t wet. It feels like you are falling off the edge of the world and I didn’t go above 10 mph most of the way down. After the steep section, the sharp right hand bend is followed quickly by a cattle grid – ie you have to go over without the brakes on and be prepared for the bike to accelerate towards the crossroads.
For lovers of statistics, the Sheffield CTC weekend to Much Wenlock took 25 riders over some 250 miles (depending on home start locations). So call it 6000 rider miles. In that time we had one chain break, 3 punctures and 3 people fall off. Not too bad, although you have to feel for Andy who single handedly accounted for the chain break, a puncture and a very public falling off. Karma or bad luck? Who knows.