When the weather is good in October, it’s one of the best times of the year. As much as I love hill climbs, I almost regretted not being able to just go out all day on the bike, rather than a short race. But, it’s a week before the national hill climb championships, it’s not a time to be tiring yourself out with 5 hour training rides.
Saturday was a new hill climb for me – organised by Nelson Wheelers CC on Barley Lane hill.
- Distance 1.5Km
- Average Gradient: 7.4%
- Height Gain – 109 Metres
It’s a pretty steady hill climb; with only a slight variation in the gradient it would make a suitable climb for fixed.
I arrived quite early, and for a time it was just me and Mike from Leigh Premier in the car park. We were both waiting for someone with a working track pump, as my two have broken and I’m too tight to buy a new one. I had a good warm up on the hill before getting on my rollers for last 20 minutes. I really like warming up on rollers, but, after taking off 53 outer chain ring, you can’t make too much effort. There’s always some complication
Conditions were good, with a light tailwind. I was hoping to get close to the course record of 3.30 set by Mike Cuming in 2011. As it happened, I got close but just missed out. My final time was 3.32.0 The climb is not particularly steep so you can do it in the saddle, but, I got out of saddle on some of the slightly steeper bits to try and maintain momentum. Near the top, there was an impressive group of Blackburn CTC riders giving plenty of encouragement. The finish was just after the brow of the hill so it benefits from a final sprint if you have the energy left. I was reasonably happy with my performance. I definitely went into the red towards the last half of the climb. I hope to go even harder in tomorrow’s steeper effort on Nick `O Pendle.
After the race I had a quick chat to the organiser Peter and some of the riders from Blackburn. Blackburn have a great team and always enthusiastically support the hill climb season. Former hill climb medallist Ian Stott was ill so he wasn’t racing, but he still came to watch. Blackburn have an outside chance for a good team placing next week on the Rake.
After the race, I did a little pedalling around, but it was hard to find anywhere flat to do some gentle spinning so I just went up a few hills in lowest gear.
My bike. Outer chain ring taken off. Looks good. Down to 5.7 kg.
A small, but select field enjoyed the race. (provisional, unofficial results)
- Tejvan Pettinger, Sri Chinmoy CT – 3.32
- Mark Tickle, Leigh Premier – 4.00
- John Findley, Bill Nickson, RT – 4.03
- Carl Helliwell, Blackburn CRT – 4.05
- Dave Collinge, Blackburn CRT – 4.16
- Sarah Helliwell, Blackburn CRT – 5.17
- Caroline Colligne, Blackburn CRT – 6.42
- Harry Eastham, Blackburn CRT – 5.46