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'Doveys' - Katie Butlers favourite climb

6.3km - 5.4% average gradient. That’s the climb that changed it all. As cyclists I think we all have that one climb. The climb we love to ride. The climb we love to suffer on. The climb we aim for PBs on season after season. Sky Road in Saddleworth, or as I affectionately call it, ‘Doveys’ (it’s the road adjacent to Dovestone Reservoir), is mine.

Nestled in the beautiful hills of the outskirts of England’s stunning Peak District, the climb snakes up from Chew Valley Road from the quaint village of Greenfield into the vast moors of Saddleworth.

The base hits gradients of around 9 per cent. But to me it means so much more than just numbers and statistics.

It was my very first climb of any length I did more than four years ago now, wearing leggings and a t-shirt on my very first road bike; an entry level bike complete with Shimano Sora.

Determined to reach its 342m summit without stopping, I achieved it but with very wobbly legs after I got off the bike at the top.

But I went back. Week after week, month after month to practice climbing. I got faster and it gave me confidence that I could climb. It taught me to get out there and push my comfort zone.

After a year or so I upgraded to 105 (the one I still ride today - albeit with the latest R7000 105 groupset) which transformed that very first road bike into a climbing machine. It then became a yearly goal to improve my time on that segment in summer after training indoors during the depths of winter.

I guess my blast up there, legs burning, heart pounding and sweat dripping from every pore, signals the start of summer and adventures the long days ahead have to offer.

It’s also the brute I test my Functional Threshold Power (FTP) on. Although I’m secretly hoping I will run out of road soon as my best time is 21 minutes (let’s go for sub 20!!).

It’s also the climb that I measure others against… ‘it’s an 18km climb, it’s just three ‘Doveys…’’.

I’ve ridden up mountains across the world, ridden Land’s End to John o’Groats, San Francisco to LA and my love of endurance riding is at an all time high, but it all started this this climb, and I keep going back to test my fitness and just to be able to feel the familiar turns and gradients.

The actual time I ride up doesn’t actually mean anything to anyone else, but me.

To be able to ride as hard as I want, or as hard as my lungs and legs can handle, I want kit that doesn’t interfere with cycling - but compliments and works with my body. A big change since my early days of leggings and t-shirts (which are still perfectly fine to wear - I just prefer something a little more comfortable).

The Shimano Sumire range is designed specifically for women and fits the curves of my body without bunching or rolling. The jersey is soft and has built in SPF 50 which means I’m not worrying about whether I have enough suncream underneath my clothes. It also works to keep your body at the optimum 37 degrees, so wicks sweat away fast when you're pushing out the watts.

The stiff carbon soles of the S-Phyre shoes paired with the ultra lightweight Ultegra road pedals give me the confidence that every single watt I’m pushing is going straight through the bike to power me forward and up the climb.

Sometimes I think we can get caught up in numbers and watts, and actually forget how far we have come.

For me it makes me proud looking back how far I’ve come from the beginner in a baggy t-shirt and leggings, to where I am today.

Make sure you do the same and credit yourself for the journey you have been on to get where you are today.

Right, off for another ride up ‘Doveys’.