Saturday was a two stage hill climb promoted by Otley CC. Talking to Sam Ward (Otley CC) before the event, we realised we both did this event as schoolboys 19 / 20 years ago. Sam was probably the person who first gave me the idea to have a go at hill climbs. In those days, Sam always beat me. I nearly finished last in my first attempt up Norwood Edge (6.50 was my first time I think) and East Chevin, but kind of enjoyed it. And after a gap of 10 years, I came back to hill climbing, but now a little more serious than in my school days ( I definitely had no 80 gram, £200 saddle – when I was a lad!).
Given we started as juniors, it was also nice to see several juniors in the field. In fact, for a hill climb, it was a good turn out and well organised as usual by, my old club, Otley CC.
Guise Edge / Nought Bank Road
The full climb is 2Km, average gradient 10%. Max gradient 16%. But, the hill climb course is shorter (1400 yards) because there is a narrow section which would be unsuitable for racing. The course starts at the bottom of quite a steep section. You need to choose a suitable gear to get a bit of momentum. There’s no time to get into a rhythm, as you’re soon out of the saddle. After a couple of bends, the gradient eases for a final fling towards the line.
- photo thanks To Claire Jessop Ilkley CC
Guise Edge was the first climb of the day. It goes out of Pateley Bridge, and is close to Greenhow Hill, but less popular with motorists.
I was next in the car park to Simon Warren of 100 Hill climb fame; it was nice to meet in person after exchanging a few emails (and probably crossing paths at hill climbs) After riding around the course, I went back to car park to warm up on my rollers. There weren’t many cyclists around this car park, and I was the only one warming up on rollers. I did enjoy seeing people’s reactions to seeing someone ride on a stationary rollers in a car park. Some were laughing (perhaps thinking, why has this guy driven all this way to a beautiful part of the world to cycle nowhere in the middle of a car park?) I could have explained I was warming up for a race up a steep hill, but they might of thought that more crazy than cycling in a car park. Some laughed, but some studiously avoided looking. Anyway, the first hill climb went quite well. It’s a tough climb because you are immediately faced by a steep section, you need good momentum, to power up, leaving just enough for final section to the top. I had a little left in tank for a small sprint to the line. The sprint turned out to be a good move, as I beat my own course record by 0.5 seconds.
Sam Ward was 15 seconds back in 3.38.
After racing in the morning at Guise Edge, the legs were a little tired, so I spent quite a bit of time spinning on the rollers. Fortunately, it was a very nice warm day, which was good because I’d left my leg warmers back in Oxford. But, at least this time I had’d forgotten my lightweight wheels. With a slight tailwind, I wondered if I could get close to Jeff Wright’s course record from 1994 (4.42) That time has always sounded a bit mind boggling. In the end, I had a good ride, and finished in a time of 4.50 – a few seconds slower than 2011. It was close, but still agonisingly out of reach.
- Norwood Edge Distance 1.8km
- Avg Grade 9.3%
- Elev Difference 166 m
- Max Gradient 16%
- Course Record: Jeff Wright 4.42 (1994). My pb 4.46 (2011)
There is a steep section at the bottom around 14-16%. After this the climb levels off to around 5-7%. It is quite exposed around two sweeping bends. A tail wind can help quite a bit. It needs careful pacing, as you can’t afford to blow up on the first 0.5KM, if you can try and pick up speed as it flattens off and then hold that speed as the gradient varies.
Thanks to Otley CC, organiser Jonathan Hobbs and sponsors
Force GB (cycle clothes), Chevin Cycles and Network Innovate Recruitment.
Results (sorry missed some off at bottom)
- Tejvan Pettinger, Sri Chinmoy CT 8.14
- Sam Ward, Otley CC – 8.59
- Karl Denton Blumilk.com 9.09
- 1st David Kinlock, Ilkley CC 9.58
- Dawn Sherrin, GS Metro 12.43
- Julian Vagley Harrogate Nova – 10.48
- WIll Straveley Ferryhill Whelers – 10.52
- Sam Gate, Otley CC
- Tom Garness, Ilkley CC
- Chris Stokes Otley CC