Autumn Epic - the first climb

I'll be covering all the significant hills on the Autumn Epic over the next few weeks - here's the first one you'll encounter on the October sportive.

The route heads north-west out of Knighton on the gently rising B4355.  The road is in a valley with the River Teme on your right (and the Wales/England border).  On the day this is a 20km warm-up where group pacelines develop.

At the head of the valley you'll meet the first proper hill - known as the "B4355 climb" on Strava - it snakes around the side of Gorddwr Bank (489m).  You'll have left behind the familiar valley farming landscape and entered the high moorland and mountains of mid-Wales by the time you top out.

The climb starts by a red telephone box on the left and heads abruptly right for 280m up to a hairpin.  It would be a mistake to carry the same warm-up pace up this hill - there's plenty more around the corner.

Another hairpin going right is a further 120m upwards, all of this is at about 10 to 12% with the steepest bit between the 1st and 2nd 'pins.  Things ease towards a cattle grid for 300m and then go upwards again for a long drag onto the moorland.  You should start noticing wide, open landscapes and distant mountains (you'll be getting close-up views later on).

About 200m beyond a red "Danger Landslip" sign the hill flattens finally.  You'll have climbed 100m over 1.4km and be up at 445m.  Watch out for the abrupt left turn (always gravelly) that comes up pretty soon.

Next challenge is the long climb out of Abbey-cwm-Hir - more on this soon.