Rob Hayles during 2011 Championships
Gunnar Gronlund, winner 2011 Championships
Long Hill – near Buxton
- Distance – 4.44 miles
- Average gradient – 3%
- Height gain – 195m - 425m (approx 230m)
- A long unrelenting climb can be quite exposed when windy.
- Fixed v Gears – I would choose gears, fixed may work if wind is low.
Great views, you can appreciate on the way down
Race Report 2010
I wanted to do the Buxton CC hill climb because I heard it would be used for the National Hill Climb in 2011. I also really like this kind of climb as you can get into a good rhythm. It doesn’t feel as violent and brutal as a two minute climb, but does last for much longer. (a different kind of pain)
The gradient is pretty constant so it might suit a fixed wheel. However, there is one short section of downhill, where I reached 30mph, so fixed would have a small disadvantage here. With a climb this shallow, it is hard to know whether it will be faster on TT bike / tribars or just road bike. I saw an early rider on his full time trial bike and he looked to be very smooth. At 20mph, aerodynamics are important and perhaps outweigh the extra weight of tribars. However, a crucial issue is which position gives the best power output. Sometimes, getting a low tuck position on a bike can make it difficult to transfer your maximum power to the bike. For an ordinary time trial, the aero benefit outweighs this power loss, but for hill climbs I’m not sure.
I am going to be doing a few tests on a local climb (A40 Stokenchurch which is similar, if slightly steeper at 4.5%) My feeling is that I wouldn’t have gone faster on a time trial bike, some riders thought otherwise. Most were riding road bikes.
I started off, with hands on top of bars, trying to get a low tuck position, but, this seemed to take more effort and was uncomfortable. By halfway, I’d settled on holding the drops of the handlebars which enabled me to concentrate more on just cycling.
T.Pettinger, 2011 hill climb championships
The main thing with this kind of hill, is to maintain a fast steady pace; the highest level you can maintain for what will be 12-14 minutes. Perhaps over last few minutes, you can try pick up pace even more.
The race co-incided with a popular cyclo sportive – High Peak Sportive. Many riders were taking a more leisurely pace up the climb, probably saving themselves for the next 100 miles of cycling. It meant there were lots of cyclists on the road to overtake, which was fine as traffic wasn’t too heavy.
The course record was set by Rob Hayles (an Olympic silver medallist) in 2006, in a time of 12.44. I worked out his average speed was over 20mph. I had an eye on the course record before starting – especially when I knew there was a tailwind. This was a rough guide when climbing. My own speed was fairly constant around 20-22mph, the slowest speed was about 18mph, which shows it never got very steep. When I came around the last corner at the top, I was very pleased to see the finish line in close proximity. I had taken 18 seconds off the course record and set a new time of 12.26. (av. 21.5 mph)
The Trek Madone, looks different with deepset wheels.
There was a good tailwind on the day (maybe around 10 mph, though it picked up later in day) and conditions were excellent, so undoubtedly that helped. But, it is still very nice to break a course record.
The other difficulty is measuring the effort for this climb. I have done quite a few ten mile Time Trials – say 21 minutes, and quite a few 1-2 mile hill climbs. But, very few in the middle which take around 12 minutes. I tried to see it as doing half a ten mile time trial. When I got to the finish, I was not entirely spent, I could have kept going. So maybe there’s scope for pushing myself harder, at least in the last half of the climb. But, It’s not like a short sprint where you can push yourself until you feel dizzy.
An impromtu HQ – Good atmosphere at bottom of climb. The clouds opened as all riders had just descended. For once the weather Gods were smiling in the Peak district.
I really enjoyed the race, and not just because I won. I find it a buzz climbing at that speed. When you’re going uphill at 21mph for 10 minutes, it’s quite something. If there had been a strong headwind, like when I did Shap Climb, it would be much less fun. The tailwind flatters your effort with greater speed. After the race I visited Buxton and tried Long hill from the opposite direction into a headwind.
There was a good atmosphere at the race, in two make-up tents. It was well organised by Sam and Buxton CC, who had about 12 riders entered. I was awarded £30 for first place, a bouquet of flowers (very nice) and a £50 gift voucher from Sett Valley Cycles for breaking course record. It was also nice to meet a few local riders, such as Chris from Buxton Cycles who said they read my blog. I’m always taken aback when I realise real people (apart from my mother) might actually read this blog. You often feel, like you are sending something out to the anonymous internet so it’s a reminder when it’s actually read by real people.
A Buxton CC rider near the top.
2011 National Hill Climb Championship on Long Hill
This years national hill climb championship will take place on Sun 30th October. It will be organised by Buxton CC. You will need to send a Cycling Time Trials entry form. Buxton have a page on hill climb here:
2011 Open Event
I rode the 2011 open event in September and finished 1st in a much slower time of 13.49. There was a strong headwind which really altered the course. On this occasion I opted to use clip on tribars and used them until the final minute where I went back onto drops.. I wrote about 2011 event here – riding into headwind
Results on Long HIll
2010 – 1st place. 12.26
2011 – 1st place 13.49
2011 – National – 5th – 13.02. (Winner Gunnar Gronlund 12.49)
2012 – 1st place – 13.35
2013 – 1st place – 13.13