as i mentioned a few days back last sunday i rode what was my first ever hill climb time trial organised by my local cycling club velo club walcot and sponsored by my local bike shop cadence.
tis the tradition for most cycling clubs to bookend the season with a hill climb time trial but unlike most early october hill climbs held in the uk this one took place in unseasonably warm weather with sun beating down and temperatures reaching 26 celcius. that is hot for us brits who have been used to brief spells of occasional sunshine in what has been a below average summer.
thirteen riders took part in the hill climb which started in claverton village, here in bath, and worked it’s up the avenue roughly 900 metres with a rise of 81 metres. Each rider set off one at a time with a gap of one minute between each start. i was fourth to start and with a minute to go i was called to the start line. The adrenaline pumped around by body in anticipation then with thirty seconds to go and my bike frame being held by a marshal i clipped into my pedals, held the brakes and took in my final few deep breaths. I released my brakes. Five, four, three, two, one, go!
what happened over the next three minutes and fifty one seconds was the most physically difficult challenge i have undertaken over such a brief period of time. I did a reconnaissance of the course a few days previously so knew where the hardest sections of the climb were. In reality the first fifth of the course had the easiest gradient and thereafter it would be a world of pain as the gradient ramped up and the lactic acid built in my legs. Knowing what was about to take place i started off fairly easily until the first right hand turn. My aim was to sit in the saddle as much as possible peddling at a high cadence rather than blowing up by pushing too hard out of the saddle. I achieved this apart from at that first right hander and then again for a few moments in the final third where I have to get out of the saddle otherwise I would have come to a standstill!
after a minute i felt like i was peddling in treacle or peddling squares as the saying goes. this feeling did not leave me but gradually gained a hold of me as i slowly progressed up the hill. All the time my brain was saying stop. riding a hill climb is not like riding a hill on a sunday ride or at least not my sunday rides. apart from the easy start this was a give it all you have got effort. my favourite moment, if i could call it that, was in the final third when somebody ran alongside me for a good 20 metres shouting at me to push harder, this certainly gave me the boost i needed as i crossed the line a very relieved man.
once i had crossed the line it took me the best part of five minutes to recover myself before i was able to speak again. I surprised myself at how long it took me to compose after what was a relatively short distance but i suppose when one goes all out and applies all the power they have it is bound to hurt. to top off the punishment i finished with a sore throat brought on by the hot dry air. once i had recovered i realised i had not started my garmin so unfortunately do not have a record of heart rate, speed etc from the race day which is a bit of a shame.
on a more organised note vc walcot managed the event very well, many thanks to them for making it happen as well as all the marshals and smattering of spectators who took time out from what was a beautifully sunny sunday afternoon.
the winning time for the day went to defending champion and current record holder for the course Robert gough of adeo cadence rt. i will be back again next year for another go with the goal of beating my modest time from this year of 3 minutes 51 seconds .24. i will also be aiming to help defend the team prize which i helped to win for vc walcot along with fellow cohorts paul and andy. well done lads.