Streatley Hill Climb

After Leith Hill  (btw: I uploaded a youtube video of race on that page) on Saturday, Sunday morning was quite a different kind of hill – Streatley hill near Goring. Short and steep, this is fairly close in difficulty to the Rake, (Nat champs 2012).

Despite doing very well in longer climbs earlier this season, I knew that Streatley hill would be a much better guide to how the Nat Champs will be like.


Streatley hill at the bottom

 Streatley Hill Climb Course

  • Distance: 0.8km
  • Avg Grade 13.0%
  • Max Grade: 18.0%
  • Elev Gain: 102m
  • Course Record: (2.16.1) – Rob Gough 2012
  • Personal best (2.24)

Streatley is one of the hardest hills in the area, and made S.Warren’s 100 Greatest Hill Climbs (24). The full hill climbs 130 metres and is 1.0Km. It has also featured in the Tour of Britain on occasions.

The hill climb course starts a 100 metres or so from the traffic lights at the busy junction. Initially, the climb is around 10%, before increasing to a maximum of 18%. The gradients stays pretty constant at 15-18% before a last shallow section towards the line. There’s little let up in the gradient throughout the climb.

streatley hill

Streatley hill at the top where it flattens out.

I’ve done Streatley hill back in 2004 and 2005 – without any particular distinction. After long gap, I was keen to ride.

The course record was 2.16.9 (set by R.Gough in 2011) I did the hill in training a few weeks ago, and realised how amazing that time would be.

I didn’t feel too bad after the race on Saturday, though got off to a bad start by forgetting my racing wheels. One poor chap in car park next to me forgot his shoes, which is pretty difficult when you have look pedals. If it helps at all, I’ve got my bike out of the car to realised I left my two pedals 150 miles away.

Anyway, I warmed up on my new rollers, and it was actually quite a good warm up. The start of the climb went well, but as it got steeper, I felt I went down too many gears. I guess the advantage of riding fixed is that you don’t have temptation to lower gears, you just have to keep going. Anyway I sprinted for line and felt it was a reasonable effort. A minute later, Robert Gough came through the finish and was obviously exhausted from his effort. He really put everything out to again break the course record, setting a time of 2.16.1. He won £50 AW Cycles voucher. From memory:

  • I was second in 2.24.
  • Richard Cartland Team Corley was 3rd in 2.27?
  • Clare Leaver (Zappi CC) was first lady in about 3.12 (which was also a new course record for women)
  • First junior was Jamil Gaida (Rapha CC) in just under 3 minutes.

On the one hand I was pleased with my time. On the other hand, it’s a confirmation that this ‘Rake’ kind of climb doesn’t really suit my strengths.

But, I can still get more out on a climb, and if I remember my light weight wheels to the nationals, there’s definitely a few more seconds to be gained. :)


Rob Gough’s bike

Robert Gough is definitely a tip for a very good placing in the nationals. It is worth bearing in mind that when Jim Henderson (5* nat champ) used to ride this hill he did a time of around 2.21.

Special mention to Stewart House and Reading CC, who continue to organise the event with great enthusiasm. If you fancy a challenge next year, come along – it’s all good fun really. There aren’t too many hill climbs in the area so it’s great to see it continue.

Previous Streatley Hill Climbs

  • 2004 – 2.38 – 5th/38
  • 2005 – 2.39 – 5th/ 27 winner Rob English 2.21. That year on the Rake I did 2.39 in the national championships. Rob English finished 4th in a time of 2:33.9. It was won in 2.26
  • 2006? maybe rode, can’t remember. At least I took 14 seconds off pb.

In 2005, my time on Streatley was exactly the same as my time on the Rake. But Rob English was 12 seconds slower on the Rake.
As a rough guide Streatley could be anything between 0 and 12 seconds faster than the Rake.


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