First up was the Kingston Wheelers Hill climb on saturday. Leith Hill, about 1.3km in length, is a nasty hill that seems to always have a changing gradient so I found you can’t settle into one gear. I felt confident of beating my time of 4:24 last year but was unsure of where my hill climbing form was.
Pacing your effort so that you cross the finish line feeling like your about to have a heart attack but not dying half way up the hill, while still giving it everything you got is a tricky one and is nearly impossible to achieve perfectly, but I came very close to that with this effort as I set off on the gentler slopes in a nice easy gear (about 39×23) while keeping it at a slightly uncomfortable pace.
Extra motivation is provided by the decent sized crowd and support of spectators on one of the steepest parts, which really does help you squeeze the little bit of effort out of the legs. I crossed the line with a time of 4:06, improving by 18 seconds from last years time. It wasn’t enough to take first junior but it is a time I am pleased with and I am sure I can go sub 4 minutes next year. Rowan Brackston from Imperial College CC set an incredible course record with a 3:27!
On Sunday I made my way to wrotham for the Bigfoot CC Hill climb of Exedown Road. This time I didn’t pace my effort as well as a result of going to hard on the steep and straight section of the climb, and consequently couldn’t sprint over the line as fast as i hoped. Nonetheless i still took 8 seconds off my time from last years event, clocking a time of 3:07, which was enough to take first junior and 11th overall. It was another day for course records with James Hayward doing a 2:36, which is very impressive.
On saturday i heard a rider describe the difficulty of a hill climb perfectly. in response to the photographer asking what the hardest part of the climb was, the rider said “no matter what hill it is, whether its flat or 20% gradient, the worst part of a hill climb is always the last 10 seconds”
Photo credits to Roger Brown