The Shelf Cycling Climb, Ruthin

North Wales has some of the most amazing roads I’ve ever cycled on, so I’m incredibly lucky to say they’re my local roads. Here’s just one of them locally known as ‘The Shelf’, which also presents itself in the 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs written by Simon Warren.

With it being close to two months off the road bike it was definitely time I got back on it.

Not wanting to go too crazy for my first ride on it in a few weeks, we drove over to Loggerheads for a loop on country lanes including one of the top 100 climbs in the UK, named ‘The Shelf’.

However, this loop did involve going down another top 100 climb, Pen Barras. That was steep…very steep. I was thankful to get that descent out of the way…ha!

On a narrow country lane with moss and debris down the centre. Old stonewall cottages. Bare trees overhanging with their auburn leaves converting the embankments on either side of the lane. We were climbing ‘The Shelf’.

Out of the wood the rolling Welsh hills came into view bordered by weather-beaten barbed wire fences. Ever changing gradients playing havoc with my legs.

A final kick of a climb we hit the top with my hands still toasty and warm thanks to some new Mavic Winter gloves.

Heading back to the car park through what felt like a totally different world through the quiet villages of North Wales, we’d covered nearly 16 miles with a fair amount of climbing.

Sometimes it’s not about the long miles, but just a short loop to get the legs burning.

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