I focused my training on road racing with plenty of long rides and miles in the hills of the peak district, thinking more about just improving my cycling fitness and strength overall rather then specifically. I also got a slow start to the season as I was finishing my final year at university. I knew once this was out they way I would have plenty of time.
I decided to skip the first longer hillclimbs in september and do the last two road races in the east midlands league. Getting a 2nd and 1st place to secure my 2nd place overall.
|BuzzCycles RR 2nd - 1st in bunch sprint|
|LFCC RR 1st|
Stocksbridge CC PeaRoyd
The first Hill climb I entered was the Stocksbridge CC event on pea royd lane, a shorter version of the national course.
Beforehand I was rather nervous and did not know what to expect at all. I had doubts about my ability to ride one hill really hard after training all year to ride lots of hills quite hard one after each other. I only started specific training for the hillclimbs the week before this race.
I planned a warm up, stuck to it and clipped in on the start line. What happened next was a bit of a blur, I do remember thinking I just needed to keep my speed as constant as possible and high, without going to hard. I spent a lot of the time in the saddle, standing up on the steeper parts to maintain speed. at the end I experienced a feeling I thought had been forgotten. Full body pain similar to what I felt like after many rowing sessions in my time as a rower. To be honest after it had gone I liked it.
Well it turned out to my total surprise that I had paced it well and certainly gone hard enough as I took 1st place with time of 2:28.2
Time 2:28.2 1st place
Strava ride here
Monsal Head HC ShefRec
I remember doing a club run to monsal head when I had first started cycling in 2012 and loving the atmosphere and vibe of the event. Although it is very short and not really my kind of hill I really wanted to give it a try, I also needed a few open hill climb results to stand a chance of getting into the national.
Knowing that I was probably going to enter I found myself riding the hill a couple of times this year to see what it was like. The first being in feburary on a cold wet day. I just rode up at a normal hard pace for a long ride and did it in about 2mins5, wondering how it was possible ever to go 30 seconds quicker... The next time was in may with Stu and randomly we both decided at the bottom that we would try to big ring it for a laugh (didn't find it funny afterwards) we basically half wheeled each other all the way up and then tried to sprint for the top. It was seriously painful but we did it in about 1 min 30 - with a run up but much more kit than would do in the HC so It was decided then that I must enter it as had a chance of good position. I rode the hill one more time before the HC after a pretty big ride where I went hard up a few of the big hills like Winnats and Mamnick, I was pretty tired but just wanted to see if I would be alright on the day using the 53 ring I got up... 53 21/23 and decided I would ride the event in the big ring after hearing many different theories of what was best.
I was still unsure about how hill climbs worked with sign on ect.. after doing road races with strict timing I got to monsal 30mins before the first rider was off to make sure I was allowed to start. giving me almost 2 hour to warm up and be nervous. Next time ill know better. Well I did get a good warm up, but then felt it was a bit wasted as I froze rolling down to the start, nevermind.
I set off mentally holding back slightly to not put too much strain on my muscles in the first couple of revs, switching through the gears as I picked up speed. hitting the steep part and hoping I could keep the 53 21 turning. It felt an awful long time until I heard Ben L cheering me on, on his way down to the start. I dug In and eventually the crowd came into sight. One final push now to the top. I crossed the line, however felt much more comfortable than after the previous weeks effort. I had ridden a consistently good speed but needed to have gone faster at the start and just tried to hang on rather than push again at the top. I didn't realise how much the crowd would carry me it was fantastic. Anyway I did it in 1 min 24.2 which was good enough for 6th and I was extremely pleased with that. 4 pro riders were in front followed by teammate Adam then me! Next year i'll know how it feels and how to ride it better.
|last 50 meters|
Strava ride here
Rutland CC MamNick HC
This was a hill I thought would suit me - steep and long :) now I don't know if or how much it makes a difference having a cold but I had managed to get one in the week, and it was a pretty chilly morning. That was really the only thing I was nervous about oh and the thought of doing mow cop the day after.
In the week me and Stu had driven up to do a recce of both hills for the weekend. I did a pretty to time up mamnick at around a threshold effort and decided what gears I should aim to use. The hill is an average of 10% and 2.1 km long, the gradient isn't constant however, with a shallower part near the start and the bulk of steep parts in the last half. A few sections are probably 15%. I decided I would ride the majority of the hill in the saddle and just stand up on the steeper parts to try and maintain a constant speed. I set off pretty quick but luckily I was able to recover a bit on the less steep part and get back to decent pace, By the time I got to the steepest parts I was pretty worn out and felt slow but i think its deceptive in hill climbs as i looked down and was still at a good speed and in the 21 cog. I got to the final corner and started increasing the speed but a few seconds later someone was saying I had finished! I hadn't realised that the finish wasn't at the crest of the hill. A bit frustrated but pleased with my efforts I rolled back down to find I had won and possible taken a course record, It was a great feeling and the coughing fit I was having from the cold air was certainly worth it!
I won this pretty cool chip fork made by www.mamnick.com unfortunately I haven't had chance to use it yet, maybe in a few weeks time ;)
Time 6.37.1 ave 19.5 kph new course record
Strava ride here
Lyme RC MowCop HC
The next day was mowcop and this hill seemed a tough one, I really was not sure how to pace it. having only ever ridden the hill the week before twice and in the rain with a headwind. The steep parts were slippery and the middle section felt very slow. I knew the top part was not as bad as it looked but I also know how hard it is to shut out what you can see ahead of you. I rode an okay time going quite fast at the start and just seeing what the top part was like and then again taking the first half easier but going fast at the top. I was still unsure but felt a bit better after looking at my speeds on strava at home.
|Stu - wet recce|
The day came and with a big entry field I was off later in the morning giving us plenty of time for the drive over and a good warm up. Hopefully the course may dry up a bit too?? It stayed damp so I stuck 95psi in tyres and set off. I started good and kept a nice speed through the first steep section, a little wheel slip but nothing to complain about. However half way up I felt I was going to fast and eased off slightly thinking back afterwards I should have kept going how I was I reached the bottom of the steep 25% ramp and changed down into the 21 to attack it egged on by the large crowd. The next part was the hardest now feeling almost flat. I needed to accelerate and it was extremely painful having to change through the gears! I needed to do one more pedal revolution but couldn't manage it so just rolled over the line and hoped someone was going to catch me. After I recovered a bit I got on the bike to do a little cool down and ended up going the wrong way back to the hq twice! To find out how I had done. I got 3rd and was beaten by two class experienced riders that a few weeks back I wouldn't have imagined id be getting close too. Matt got the CR only to have it taken away by Tejvan just under 2 mins later. After reading that Tejvan had tried to go into his easiest gear at the bottom of the 25% part to find he was already in it I realised I couldn't have gone hard enough in the middle and a 100m part of 25% isnt a very big portion of a mile long climb to try and go fast on... next time know better.
Still a great weekend and feeling pleased.
Time 4.28.9 3rd. - Matt c 4.22.8 - Tejvan P 4.20.4
Strava ride here