This weekend I was ‘up north’ for the hill climb season. Three hills in two day. It was an interesting experience.
Otley CC Hill Climb Guise Cliff, Pateley Bridge
On Saturday, the wind was upto 30-40mph. On the top of the Nidderdale Moors it felt nearer to 40-50mph. Defending National Champion Matt Clinton, got blown off his bike practising so the decision was wisely taken to shorten the race to just half way up the climb and avoid the very exposed top section. Even so, the race was torture, I don’t think I’ve ever managed to cycle so slowly on a bike. I’m sure I was down to about 3mph (and going sideways at one point.) The start was steep, maybe 16%, but, when you turned the corner, the gale force wind was in your face. Even though the gradient wasn’t too steep, it seemed tough to make any forward movement at all. I was relieved to get to the finish. I realised my arms were as tired as my legs in holding on to the bike. I also realised that standing up trying to get more power only made the climb more difficult. I did so badly I didn’t want to look at the results, though it was the same for everyone. And I’m glad we had a race after travelling up from Oxford the day before. (By the way I was grateful to Matt who having climbed to the top suggested to me Deep Section front wheels were not such a great idea with wind as strong as it was).
I never got to practise the climb because I was too busy dealing with last minute mechanical problems. Will I ever follow my own advice and be well prepared for a race?
Norwood edge was a bit better, it was still windy, but, at least you could get into a proper routine and concentrate on riding a bike rather than not falling off. I finished 3rd behind Matt Clinton and Jim Henderson, leaving me 4th overall for the two stages. It was OK.
Otley CC Hill Climb was my first even race, I was aged 15 (back in 1990 when interest rates were 15% and a mobile phone was something Yuppies used) I think John Barnett was organising it back then so thanks to him and Otley CC for organising event and to sponsors (MAS DESIGN CONSULTANTS LIMITED and AJM FIRE RISK ASSESSMENT SERVICES)
Picture Middle Andrew Waters Techno – Smug Mug for more cycling pics
Sunday was Lancaster CC Hill Climb at Quernmore / Jubilee Tower