Wednesday, 2 November 2011


Goody Bag

So the final race of my season and it is the most important race of the year for me. The National Hill Climb. This year it was being run by Buxton Cycling Club and they were using the climb of long hill. This is not your normal hill climb as it is run on a main A road and the average gradient is between 3 & 4%. The main debate before the race was would it be a testers or a climbers hill. As it turned out it would be a climbers hill. After recoverying from my cold i had hoped for a top 50 but knew on this climb it would be difficult.

It was only an 75min drive to the HQ so i wouldn't need to stay over night beforehand. The other half said she wanted to come which is the first event she has attended this year after being a pain in the bum at last years national. I had said i would never take her again but i relented. At least the weather looked like it would hold out and not be to cold. We got to the hq at 9.30am which was in plenty of time before my start time of 11.46am. I wanted to get a parking space as i knew the car park would fill up quick. On signing on we were givin a nice goody bag which i thought was a nice touch.

I decided that rather than park in the carpark i would park in one of the laybys on the climb so it would give emma something to watch and also once i was done i would beable to see some of the big guns going up.
The big concern of using long hill was going to be traffi and lesuire cyclists using the climb as the race was going on. People had said that there wouldn't be much traffic but unfortunatly this turned out to be the opposite. I think that the good weather had brought everyone out into the high peak. Whilst i was warming up i saw Stuart Baker have to stop as a truck had stopped on the climb. On talking to him back at the hq he had to stop again further up the climb.

For my warm up i decided to not take my heart rate up to high i just thpught i would just do about 30mins. I had decided to use the clip on aero bars but not the areo helmet. Most big guns were on full areo set ups. There was a head wind on the climb but i am not sure if it was as strong as the open event in september.

I rode down to the start and my heart rate was all ready at 140bpm so i knew it was national day. I started of well and soon got into a rythem. I was surprised as to how many people were on the road side cheering the riders on as we got further up the climb. I felt i was going ok and i was going faster than i had in the open event but would it be enough to make the top 50. At about 250m to go i got stuck behind 2 cars who were trying to pass a group of lesuire cyclist's. This did cost me a couple of seconds which as it turned out would have moved me up a few places but not enough to cost me a top 50 place. As soon as i finished i turned round and made my way back down the climb stopping to thank a few people from huddersfield who i had heard shouting incuragement as i raced up the climb.

I didnt warm down as i just got changed and packed my stuff in the car so i could watch the remaining competers go past

Matt and Gunnar as they came past me

So the top three were
1. Gunnar Gronlund 12:49
2. Richard Handley 12:56.1
3. Matt Clinton 12:57.5

My finishing position was 66th in 15.21.3

So a big thank you to Sam Clark at Buxton CC for putting on the event. Now for 2 weeks off and then back into it so i can crack the top 50 next year.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Final Race

So tomorrow it's the national hill climb. It is a race that i have been looking forward to for a year. My HC season has had it's ups and downs. I have tried riding fixed but haven't got the gearing right yet but next year i will have more experience. Then i picked up a cold and had to miss a weekend of racing. So last week i did 2 hc and was about 10seconds of last years pace so i hope that my cold hasn't put me back to much. My aim for tomorrow is to make the top fifty but i think it will be tough but i am going into it with nothing to lose.

Monday, 17 October 2011

My first DNS

After last weeks 3 hill climbs i am afraid i picked up a cold this week. I had hoped that i would of got rid of it by sunday but unfortunately it was not to be. When i get ill at this time of year it normally takes me 3 to 4 weeks to fully recover so it doesn't look good for the nationals but i am trying not to get to down about it yet. As October is the month that i have been waiting for it couldn't have come at a worse time. It happened last year just before the nationals as well. I think looking back there are a few thinks that i have learnt about may body.

1. No more than 2 hill climbs in a weekend.
2. Need to start my hc season later as my body can not cope with more than 5 weekends of racing before it breaks down.
3. Need to stay warm at all time's
4. Don't worry about not entering certain hc even if you feel you are letting people down.

so fingers crossed i can get rid of it this week.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Gone into the red once to often

It would seem that at about this time of year i start to get ill. I thought it was just because of the drop in temperature but i think it is more to do with the fact that my body just can not cope with the high demands of the hc season. I have done 9 hill climbs so far this year over a 6 week period and i think that is about my limit before my body starts to break down.

I hope that after maybe missing this weekends racing i might just shift it before the final 2 weekends of the season so at least i can put in some sort of performance at the nationals. i really wanted to race this weekend but looking at it long term i think i might have to dns.


Next year i will have to have a close look at my race calendar and i might have to miss event's that i enjoy so as not to get ill. One thing that i will not be doing is doing more than two hill climbs in one weekend and will start my season later.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Monsal Head

I wanted to get one hill climb in this year that had a large crowd and was one of the biggest field's in the country so i opted for the Sheffrec CC run event which takes place on Monsal Head in Derbyshire. It is run on a closed road so the spectators have full run of the course. I got there early so as i could have a look at the climb. I rode up it on the fixie and the start was fairly flat but thought that it wouldn't hinder me to much and i would make the time back and more on the climb itself.
trying to give it sum

I was there nearly 3 hours before my start time so the boredom started to set in. We had to park in a farmers field so the rollers were going to be a problem for warming up, then it would be a walk across the field in the cycling shoes to get to the start which is never good whilst dodging the cow dung.

I wasn't feeling to good after the previous days 2 hill climbs but thought i would still do ok. I had hoped for a time in the low 1:40s. I could hear the crowd cheering every rider up as the commentator did his best to give some info about each rider. As i was off 109 i would no prity soon just how well i had done.

I felt ok on the start line but as soon as i had set off i knew the fixie wasn't the right way to go for me. I could only get up to about 30kph and the big boyes would have been pushing 40. Then as soon as i hit the climb my legs just died on me until the final 80 meters as the crowd encouragement pushed me on to pick the speed up and finish ok. On crossing the line i knew that my time was poor as it took me all of about 20seconds to get my breath back. I did a 1:54 which was very poor. The winner Gunnar Gronlund won in 1:26. I finished in 49th place.

Top 4
1. Gunnar Gronlund 1:26
2. Chris Metcalf 1:27
3. Lee Baldwin 1:27.9
4. Matt Clinton 1.29.9

This climb is ideal for fixed if you can push a big enough gear for the flat section and keep it going on the climb. For me i just don't have the power so if i do it again it will have to be geared.

A Good But Hard Weekend

So my second year running the Granville Sydney Memorial open hill climb. This is a classic climb and has been won by some of the greats of the sport. It's first winner was Graham Sydney a profilific hill climber of his day and brother of Granville so a fitting tribute who just happened to be our special guest on the day.

Trying to run an event is very stressful especially when you are also trying to compete. We had 41 entries for the open event which is a good number for a hill climb and 2 past winner were on the start sheet, Matt Clinton and James Dobbin. After the morning's event and not warming down after i wasn't expecting big things from my own performance but did have enough time for a warm up as i was going of near the end at number 39. Matt Clinton was off number 40 so i had hoped that this would spure me on a little. The weather had warmed up a touch from the morning and the rain had stopped so as i made my way to the start line i felt ok. I was riding fixed for the first time on this climb so i would see if i had got the gear right. The legs didn't feel to good and on the second 3rd of the climb i was struggling to keep the pedals turning. The encouragement on the climb was great and on the push for the line the crowd made all the differance. Until the last quater i had forgoten that Matt was chasing me until i herd the crowd shouting for him. I pushed as hard as i could as i didn't want to get caught.
Pushing for the line
On finishing i caught my breath as Matt crossed the line. I stopped my computer to save my data but didn't look at the clock as i knew it wasn't a good time as matt was closer to me than i had wanted. So i turned round and made my way back don the climb whilst thanking people for their surport. Matt caught me up and said that he thought i had gone under 5mins which is a good standard on this climb. Matt had done a 4:17 which is a very good time and would be the fastest of the day.

So my time was 4:59.8 which is my second fastest on this course but 11 seconds short of my best but as matt had gone about 11 seconds slower than his best which he did on the same day i surpose i shouldn't be to unhappy.

I hadn't got the gear right and on the few times i have used the fixed bike i now know where i have gone wrong but it will have to wait another 12 month's before i can put this right.

Matt on his way to the win

Andrew Askwith 1st Vet

Shaun Crowther all the way from Jersey