Thursday 11 September 2014

Willunga Hill vs. Skenes Creek - comparing the toughest climbs

Margaret Boylan has conquered Willunga Hill and Skenes Creek. She takes some time out to share her personal experience of both climbs...

Cycling enthusiast and masters silver medalist, Margaret Boylan has conquered both South Australia’s Willunga Hill and Skenes Creek Road Hill climb in Victoria. She's about to endure yet another climb on Amy’s Gran Fondo this weekend. (Go for gold Margaret!)

Margaret loves both climbs - and she loves red wine - so without using stats and vertical meters and so on, she simply compares the experience, as if savouring a glass of red from the best of both regions.

Willunga Hill vs. Skenes Creek

Margaret says:
“If they were both red wines, Willunga would be full bodied, with a lot of personality which hits your palate (legs and lungs) on first sip when you are not ready for it really. Then steadies out without too much expansion in your mouth but grabs you again in that last sip as you finish.”

Sounds like an interesting drop. With an average gradient of 7.6%, the ride up Willunga covers a distance of 3 km. Known as one of the toughest climbs in Adelaide and face-offs in the Tour Down Under.  It's a 'feel good' climb - but only once you’ve conquered it! Calves may cramp up and in pain days after but - 
you did it and everyone knows.

 On Skenes Creek:
“Skenes Creek (which I did 2 years ago) is certainly full bodied but consistently bitey! Skenes strikes your palate (legs and lungs) right upfront and it stays longer and is heavier and spicier right to the end.”
No doubt the spicy flavours are due to the longer climb (9.45 km) and higher in altitude. 

Margaret's verdict:
“Both are delicious rides and well worth savouring and taking the time and investment to try. It’s great to be able to compare them!"

Margaret's 3 tips to conquer Willunga Hill.

Fresh from riding up Willunga Hill last Sunday in a time trial race, she shares three tips to conquer the great old hill:

1. Eat well beforehand and be well hydrated long before you start the climb

2. Know and use the pace that is sustainable for you for the whole climb or use intervals to get you up there

3. Enjoy the scenery, deliberately breathe evenly and deeply, smile - it really does help!

Hill or no hill, cheers everyone and hope to see you on Amy’s Ride SA 2014. We'll be finishing at Serafino Wines - so you can enjoy a tasty red at the finish line. 

About Margaret

Margaret is a part-time lawyer, cycling coach and personal trainer running a small business “First Principles Fitness and Coaching. She has been on TDU Challenge rides, Amy’s Rides SA over a number of years, Boileau Velo Adelaide, Amy’s Gran Fondo Victoria 2012 and 2014, Around the Bay Victoria 2013, Gear up Girl, Ride for Pain 2013, Skinny Latte Women’s Tour 2014 and more.

Words by Ray Jalil -

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