Long Hill Climb – Buxton CC

Rob Hayles during 2011 Championships

Gunnar Gronlund, winner 2011 Championships

See results and photos from 2011 Championship

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:

Race and Report 2011 Hill Climb Championships

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


19 Responses to Long Hill Climb – Buxton CC

  1. tejvan June 6, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    Hi Marco,

    You can definitely do hill on ordinary road bike. It is debatable whether you will be any quicker on time trial bike.

    I think I used big ring all the way up. I may just put a 45 chain ring for national champs.

    To enter you need a cycling time trials form (you may need a qualifying time on another hill climb.

    • Marco June 9, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

      Tejvan, thank you very much for your communication, its appreciated! a couple of questions for you, since the hill is shallow, do you think Hutch, Downing, Wiggins, Hales etc etc may turn up for a easy win? Also im doing/ have done a lot of HCs in Scotland, would these be ok for a qualifing time? How would the organiser know if thats good or not? and whats the minimum British Cycling licence I would need to do a RTTC event? indeed, do i need a RTTC day licence? I’ve got a Bronze BC licence, as all HC’s and small RRs and TTs here are Reg C+ so i don’t need anything more. So your going for a 45 ring on the front, would this be incase of a headwind?
      That would help a lot, thanks!

      • tejvan June 10, 2011 at 9:51 am #

        To enter you will need to be in a club affiliated to CTT http://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/Beginners/EnteringTimeTrials/tabid/635/Default.aspx

        I think Scottish time trials are fine for a qualifying time, (though you might want to check)

        Hutch once did national hill climb on the cat and fiddle. He finished 2nd to Mark Lovatt. I’m not sure, but I guess Hutchinson has retired from hill climbs, he was never a specialist climber.

        Most pros won’t enter, after long season on road, they are probably thinking of winter break rather than one last race up a hill. Though of course Dan Fleeman (Team Raleigh) will probably be defending his title.

  2. Marco June 6, 2011 at 11:43 am #

    Nice work sir! thats some achievement to beat an Olympic champion and a course record! Your blog is certainly very helpful, being from North East Scotland ive no idea about how to go for the RTTC HC champs this year, what the hill is like or indeed, what bike to take down with me! Thanks! oh, did you need to use your little ring at all on Long Hill TJ??

  3. cycling training plans March 15, 2011 at 9:02 am #

    Congrads on the course record… I’ve only just got back into the cycling scene this season and loving it. I’ve lost a ton of weigth and fell fantastic. Thanks for your many articles, they are very helpful and inspiring. All the best for the up coming season.


  4. steve February 19, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    Thought this simplified version might interest you. I had to make assumptions on the height gained by taking 3% as the average gradient which gave me 354m height gained.

    bike + rider weight (kg) x 9.8 x elevation gain (meters) / time (seconds) = power (watts). Add 10% for rolling and air resistance.

    For me that works out at a jaw-dropping 360W to do it in 12m20secs, I can crank out 340W for a 10 mile. Hutch averaged just shy of 400W for his hour attempt, but he weighs a lot more than me :)

    On this 3% climb, for every kilo you can shed, you need approx 5watts less power on the climb, or will reduce your time by approx 10seconds.

    You are looking at around 70% of effort to overcome aerodynamic drag, the rest is overcoming the gradient. This all excludes any wind.

    So, if you can be comfortable on the time-trial bike and can get some mega light wheels (1g shaved on wheel weight equates to around 1.5g of dead weight) I would go for that route. I would advise against fixed because of the constant change in wind direction and the flat-ish section.

    • Simon E August 24, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

      Steve – interesting calculations, thankyou.

      If a 1kg reduction in weight (is this bike or bike+rider?) will save 10 seconds over 12 minutes – a 1.3% time gain – then it suggests that lighter wheels don’t really make a significant difference to your time.

  5. tejvan September 18, 2010 at 7:19 am #

    I did my calculations using an OS map, I make that the A40 rises about 200 metres (or was it 150metres) over 1.5 miles

    >Dave, I guess that’s the way it goes sometime. But, I’m not convinced it will be won on a TT bike.
    Though it’s only 3% I doubt it would attract flat road specialists like Dr Hutch.

  6. Dave Preece September 16, 2010 at 9:33 pm #

    Firstly congratulations on a course record. Now, is the 2011 national hill climb seriously going to be on a road that probably doesn’t have a % sign at the bottom of it and therefore isn’t really a hill? It wont be a climber who wins on that, massive power and a tt bike will win the day..

  7. The Nellster September 15, 2010 at 3:34 pm #

    Very enjoyable read and very impressive results, as always. Thank-you. However, I was shocked you said the A40 up to Stokenchurch was *only* 4.3%. The idea of cycling up that terrifies me! I felt sure it was much worse than that so I checked it on an OS map….. from the Thame road junction to the highest point near the entrance to the telecom tower is 1.6 miles or a little over 2500m. The rise over that distance is 400m… That makes it 15% doesn’t it? Perhaps my cycling ability and general lardiness has affected my mathematical brain?

    • David Kinniburgh October 4, 2011 at 8:46 am #

      I think it is more like 400 ft not metres so divide your gradient by 3.3 and you get 4.5% which is about what was originally quoted.

  8. James Tucker September 14, 2010 at 9:48 pm #

    Awesome ride Tejvan, interesting to hear your opinion on TT bike vs. road bike. My full on TT with disc didn’t feel too bad although it felt a bit awkward on the first half of the climb. I would have needed to be on my Ducati to beat your time though! Look forward to riding the course again next year.

    Congratulations, regards James

  9. James September 14, 2010 at 9:11 am #

    Well done T.J!

  10. Chris Baines September 14, 2010 at 7:33 am #

    Great ride tejvan, and a very nice read. However, my name is not craig :) Keep up the good work!

  11. Lou Clark September 13, 2010 at 10:23 pm #

    Hi Tejvan,

    Love reading your blog. Very interesting reading. On behalf of Sam and myself, we would like to say a big thank you for entering Long Hill and are pleased you enjoyed it.
    I was the one serving the refreshments at our make shift H.Q!!! It was a fantastic day, this was only the 4th year of The Long Hill Open which has increased each year in turn out, so many many thanks for such a favourable review.
    Hope to see you next year both at the Open in Sept and at the Nationals. Here’s to you setting a new record!!!
    Lou and Sam Clark

  12. Dave September 13, 2010 at 1:21 pm #

    Congrats on the course record, and I very much enjoy reading all you blog posts Tejvan :-)


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