Are there better things to do on a Sunday?
I’m referring of course to last weekend’s hill climbs, presented courtesy of the Catford and Bec clubs. Overnight rain meant that York’s Hill was greasier than usual but at least it was pleasantly warm which brought the crowds out to witness the annual gurning competition on the final kick to the top. Having neglected to fit ski-skins to my pro-race3s I managed a skittish 2:40, good enough for 42nd from 72 starters (or as I prefer, the 7th fastest Vet!) Andy Ross did well, coming in 32nd with 2:29 which was about the same as last year – we agreed the conditions did affect the times. Iain Akhurst also represented the club, 23rd at 2:22, placing 3rd Vet. The event was won by Robert Gough, Chippenham Wheelers in 1:58, the only rider under 2 minutes, with Jody Crawforth second and Matthew Melville third. Honoured guest entry, Max Pendleton, famous father of famous daughter turned in a 2:52 and the lantern rouge did 3:50
It looked to brighten up for the afternoon’s Bec and conditions were fine for the early starters however rain and cold dampened spirits and times from about the midway point. Still, a good crowd turned out to cheer raucously, inspired by the gutsy climbers, fuelled by quality tea and cakes. I’d preferred White Lane so I was disappointed to do a 2:28 which was about what I’d done in training but was good enough for another 7th fastest Vet, 49 of 75. The one to watch for the Club hill climb, Andy Ross, came in 35th in 2:19. The event was won by a rider who was seventeenth off but even in the dry his 1:46 was impressive and held everyone off – Mike Smith, Milton Keynes, was happy to walk away with the £1,000 prize money. Gough and Crawforth were the only other riders under 2 minutes.
On reflection, now the shock and pain has died down, these two famous hill climbs are good events to do. Once. Just to say you’ve done them. But then again, I’m thinking about what would happen with different tyres, or pressures. Or what I could do on a dry day, or with more training. I’ve a sneaking suspicion I’ll be back next year…..
Report by Robert Robbins