Hill Climbs 2018

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    • #1022112

      Giles Davy

      Hi Steve, just the one more this season, Watford Velo (Whiteleaf Hill) on Sunday.

      Best of luck for the Fareham Wheelers event, Sam!

      • #1022121

        Giles Davy

        I’m sure the majority of us awoke on Sunday morning with the familiar sense of autumnal dread after seeing the heavy rain clouds amassing overhead. Yes, it wasn’t be best day for a ride but it wouldn’t be so bad over 50 miles away in the Chilterns, would it?! Wrong, it would be worse. Absolutely furious rain for the duration of the morning led to a modest number of riders starting the Watford Velo hill climb on Whiteleaf.

        The course was 1.2km averaging 10% with maximum pitches in excess of 20%. Posing a different challenge to Hollingbourne, this hill starts in a similar fashion but soon ramps up with two aggressive bends finishing on a ‘false flat’. Rolling up through the mist was a surreal experience with torrential rain, wheel-spin, fallen leaves, grates and gravel adding to the exertion. Support was small but enthusiastic at the top. The facilities and organisation by Watford Velo were excellent in very testing conditions. Thanks to the marshals and timekeepers in particular.

        An astounding time (and course record) of 03:41 was set by the winner. I placed 9 out of 36 riders in 4:30.

    • #1022111

      Steve Rodgers

      Good work all! That’s a shame about Jon as I’ve seen him putting in some amazing efforts on HCs and strava segments this year!

      I rode the Catford in 2012 with a 2:26 at 35th place – but the conditions were perfect that year.
      It’s an amazing feeling giving it everything and then being lifted to another level by the cheering crowds just as you think you can’t give any more! I seem to remember it was the only time my HR went over 200!

      Giles – 3:44 on Hollingbourne is very quick – well done! Are you doing any more HCs?

    • #1022110

      Giles Davy

      Hi Sam, excellent results from yourself and Dan at the weekend. Great effort.

      My report on the Wigmore CC Hollingbourne hill climb held on Sunday 30 September below, thanks for the email prompt, Steve!

      At 1.24 km in length and with an average gradient of 8% there are harder ways to pedal up and over the North Downs, but for my first competitive hill climb, the challenge of ascending Hollingbourne in “the red” proved both exhausting and captivating in equal measure. Wonderful weather conditions, good organisation and a brilliant atmosphere led to an entertaining event in which some very impressive times were set.

      Treating the GS Avanti jersey to its first outing, I set off on a particularly unscientific warm-up which consisted of riding the hill for the first time (“yep, they were right, it just keeps getting steeper”), doing a view flat repetitions at pace on Pilgrims Way (“please don’t puncture, please don’t puncture”) and then having a stretch on the Ford Focus (“I should probably get those brake pads looked at”).

      After what felt like an age, I shuffled to the start line to await the countdown; clip-in, breathe, wobble, GO!

      I don’t own either a heart rate monitor or power meter so rode the hill on instinct, checking my effort for a moment just after halfway to leave enough in the tank for the 20% spikes towards the end. After the first turn in the road came a wall of sound from the support, followed by bagpipes, a few shouts of encouragement and then the run-in to the finish. Spent, I instantly refuelled with Victoria sponge and tried to calm the torrent of lactic acid surging through my body.

      An enjoyable and rewarding way to spend a Sunday morning. Thank you Wigmore CC. I finished with a time of 03:44 which placed me 19 out of 74 starters – over a forty second gap from the leader at 3:03, kudos to him.

    • #1022104

      Simon Lumsdon

      Hi Sam and well done!

      I think Dan did a very credible 2-29, event was won in 1-57 or something similar. Times much slower due to conditions and slippy roads

      I do like the Catford hill climb, great to watch, still sure i wouldnt like to ride it



    • #1022103

      Sam :D

      Today saw the start of my Open Hill Climbs for this year with the classic Catford Hill climb, with Dan Pink and myself representing Avanti.

      It was a cold start to the morning, but luckily down by the start line at the bottom of Toys Hill there was lots of sun and with the shelter from any wind it was warm enough to be comfortable. I set off at a reasonable pace on the shallower lower slopes, but when the gradient ramped up under the trees the damp road and fallen leaves meant it was very difficult to get out of the saddle without spinning the rear wheel uselessly.

      When you hit the final vicious turns you hit the crowd that’s waiting for you Grand Tour style, screaming encouragement and jumping out of the way as you come up. I remember seeing/ hearing Jo and possibly Martin (I know he was there, although I thought it might have been Hamish at the time, I was in a world of my own by that point!).
      Right near the top someone shouting my name ran behind me all the way to the line through the tunnel of other spectators, and it was only after I’d come to a stop collapsed over my handlebars did I realise it was Dan Pink, Avanti’s hill climber supreme.

      On my way back down the hill to collect my emergency tools, water and jacket from the bottom I ran into one of my old Charlotteville and Surrey Uni clubmates, Jon. He had built himself a feather light climbing rig, but on the way down Ide Hill his SRAM Red etap shifter ran out of battery, and despite our best efforts he was stuck in a 36×13 gear, and he wasn’t able to take my bike as a replacement. Somehow he still made it to the top by weaving all over the road though!

      Unfortunately I had to leave as soon as I’d taken my gear back up to the top so I could get to the afternoon ‘cross race (but that’s another story) so I couldn’t see Dan race. In the end I had a time of 2min 55s, which would put it on a par with the fastest time I’ve ever done York’s hill and was good enough for 92nd of 128.
      Dan did considerably better finishing 42nd which is an incredible result given his other commitments at the moment.

      Many thanks to all those who came out to cheer us on for their support, it really does give an extra boost especially when I’m right on my ragged edge!

      Next up for me will be the Fareham Wheelers open HC down near my hometown of Portsmouth next week, I’ll be posting up how I get on here 🙂

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