North Hertfordshire 5 minute + climbs

Hi all,

I've been riding 'properly' since March 2019 when I finally bought my first road bike - previously just commuting in London on a fixie. Since then I've cycled a fair bit - Regents park/Swains lane before work, richmond park in the evenings, and out into Kent/Surrey at the weekends. I'm in relatively okay shape overall (ran my first marathon of 3:16 in March, not sure on FTP but when tested May last year it was about 285w or 3.5w/kg) but have never done proper cycling training, the closest I've come is pre-work hill repeats up Swain's lane.

I'm now in north Herts due to the lockdown and after a few weeks back on the bike (after a good 6 months off doing only running and weightlifting) I'm keen to do some structured training in order to improve my fitness and power. I've got a few decent hills near me for 1/2/3 minute efforts (Preston hills and Sharpenhoe/Hexton mainly) but I'm struggling to think of any gradients long enough for 5 minute hill repeats or threshold efforts so I'm wondering if anyone who cycles in the area or slightly further out can recommend anything. I cycled Ivinghoe Beacon the other week which was brilliant, but it's a 90k cycle for me to get there and back so not really doable before work. Bison hill is another good one for 4 mins or so but again is a bit of a trek. Doesn't need to be steep, just up hill - for instance there's a local drag near me from Whitwell to St Paul's Walden (1.8k at 3% average, barely more than a false flat before kicking up a bit at the end), it takes a little under 4 mins to get up and is great for vo2 max intervals, so anything similar but a little longer would be great. The majority of climbs in the area seem to be 8-11% and pretty short, nothing super steep or long and steady.

Are there any suitable climbs within the Hitchin/Luton/Stevenage/Baldock/Welwyn area?


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