Saturday, 27 September 2014

Race Report: Kingston Wheelers Hill Climb

So today was my first Hill Climb for a while (obviously, season has only just started), and i'd chosen the Kingston Wheelers HC on Leith Hill. A popular climb in the Surrey Hills and one i'd only ridden a few times before hand.

The weather was great so I decided to ride down with Andy P from the club. Now according to Google this was just 37 miles so a nice warm up... Anyway, turned out to be 47 miles, so i'll be honest, not the best thing to do before a Hill Climb race, and my legs were certainly in agreement. 

Leith Hill:
 - 0.9 miles
 - 8% average
 - 18% Max
 - 371ft gained
 - 3:27 - Course Record

I had been sent the rider start sheet before (90 riders!), and looking down the list I saw some big names and fast riders. Namely Tejvan Pettinger, who is current national hill climb champion! Number collected and pinned on the jersey, time for a quick piece of cake (amazing btw) and a coffee and then off to start, and for a recce up Leith Hill. I was pleased I had done this as it was certainly longer than I had remembered, and with a gradient which wasn't constant it was going to be interesting to see how pacing myself would work.

1 minute to go. I wasn't feeling fresh, and apart from going absolute flat out I didn't really have a plan. 5,4,3,2,1.... I was off. Basically full gas, standing up, pulling up as much with my arms as I was pushing on the pedals with my legs. About 30 seconds in and the pain was well and truly there, the course was fairly poor condition at the bottom, and not that steep, it then ramped up towards a few houses and then flattens off, it was here I thought I had lost it, I sat down. I don't do seated climbing, unless it's bloody long or i'm knackered. The course then ramped up again to 11% around another corner and then a almost constant gradient with a small section peaking at 18% on the final corner. This was where all the spectators were (obviously) and I was gurning good and proper now, the pain was high, but I felt good. Not looking up, but putting in a final dig to the line and really just destroying myself. I crossed the line and was almost sick. Good, means I tried hard enough. 

I had no real idea how i'd done (Lucinda was borrowing my Garmin) and I didn't have a watch. Obviously phone was on for Strava, but I started that before I was off, and stopped a minute or two after crossing the line. Back down to the spectator's corner to cheer on the remaining competitors.

Back at HQ and all time times were being jotted down, and the top 5 rider's names being written down. Winning time was indeed Tejvan with a fantastic 3:27 (course record) and looking down the rider list I got to me. 3:51.6! Wow I was pleased with that, totally unexpected and better than I thought I would do given the times being quoted by other riders. This put me in 6th, so overall very happy with that. Conditions were pretty much perfect I think, warm, a slight tailwind and not a jot of rain or damp on the ground. 

Quick bite to eat and I set off to ride home... Another 47 miles... 

Think for my next HC in a few weeks I'll take it a bit more seriously. Mainly not riding there and back and maybe a few weight saving bits to be done to the bike. 

Strava Link: 

Thanks for reading

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