Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Holme Valley Wheelers Club Hill Climb 2011

So tonight i was breaking out my hill climb weapon for it's first outing. A local club hill climb is always a relaxed atmosphere but for some reason i was nervous all day. This was probably due to the fact that i won it last year and i was using fixed for the first time. My warm up was ok but i did go half way up the climb twice on the fixed and it made my legs feel crap.

These are some pic's of my fixed the Racescene had made up for me.
So i did go of as hard as i normally do as after reading Matt Clinton's hill climbing guide i thought maybe i have been going of to hard. My legs felt like crap after about a third of the way up and i thought that maybe i had a to big a gear on but pushed on through to finish with a time of 2:23.6 which as it turned out i beat last years time by .1 of a second. I was a little disappointed with my ride but lets hope i push on from hear unlike last year when i felt that i went backwards.
I finished second this year to a cracking ride by Jacob Scott. But its was close from me down to 5th. Two other Star Wheelers also took part and Tom Broadbent took over 10seconds off his pb and Richard Facey but in a good effort for an old man (only joking richard)

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Tuesday, 23 August 2011


Well i made the trip over to do Bridlington Cycling Club's 2 stage club hill climb. The weather said it was going to rain and it did.
Got there in plenty of time so that i could have a look at the climbs and get a good warm up in. The first climb out of Wold Newton was a straight drag up on to a plateau. The climbs length was about 1km but only about 200m was steep. I managed to get warmed up for about an hour until people started to turn up so i went to the start to sign on. I was going off number 10 out of a field of 11. It was about a 45min wait before i went off and had cooled down and then the rain came so i was a bit cold on the start line. As always with a climb i have never rode in anger i always struggle with gear choice. I started in the 39x17 which was ok for the first 3rd of the climb then i dropped it in to the 39x19 for the steeper section and as i hit the plateau and knocked it up 3 gears for the final sprint. Felt ok but should of put it in the big ring for the plateau section i think.
Everyone waited at the top as the times were worked out and the clothing was brought up in the car from the start. I managed to win it by about 6 or 8 seconds so was fairly satisfied. Then it was down the other side to climb up the other side. This climb was about 10% for 2/3rds of the climb until you  hit a longer flat section.
It was probably about 20mins from finishing the 1st climb to starting the second and i had got very cold.
Started of in the 39x19 and then when i hit the steepest section i dropped it into the trusty 39x21. As i hit the top section i put it in the big ring and by the time i crossed the finish line i was in full sprint going 43.2kph. On reflexion i didn't try hard enough on the second climb and should of started my sprint about 100m before i did but i think i had got to cold between the two. So as we waited for the results in the fine drizzle i was a little bit disappointed that i had not got everything right. I managed to win the second climb as well by about 6sec so over all 2 wins on a wet night.
So a not a bad start to my 2011 hill climbing campaign. Big thanks to Bridlington Cycling Club for letting me ride and i am looking forward to doing their open event which is on 25th September at 11am.

Learning points
Need to still work on my warm up.
Keep Positive
Always look up the climb


Tonight see's me make the trip across to Bridlington to take part in Bridlington Cycling Club's 2 stage club hill climb. The course is up one side then up the other side. Each climb will last just over 2mins so is an ideal time to break you in for a hard 2 month's ahead. From what i have been told both climbs are not to steep and you maybe able to go up in the big ring so i will not be taking the fixed wheel bike to break it's cherry. That will have to wait until next week at the Holme Valley Wheelers club event.
Tonight is more about practicing my warm up and having a little bit of fun. I do some time's find it hard to warm up properly on club event's as they are a little bit more relaxed so start time and signing on is a little bit less structured but i hope to be able to do a 45min warm up before i sign on then just keep warm before i go off.
The weather doesn't look to good but that's what you get for riding in England.
Race report to follow tomorrow.

Saturday, 13 August 2011


This is a guide done by Matt Clinton (Mike Vaughan Cycles) in 2006. I have taken this off his blog so i hope he doesn't mind. I am not sure how relevant it will be to his current preparation but i think that for us average cyclist's it is an excellent starting point.On reading this i have taken a few pointers in things that i had been doing wrong so i hope you will be able to take things from it. For anyone that does not know who Matt is he is a former national hill climb champion and twice runner up. Some of the guide talks about the 2006 Busa national hill climb.

Preparation & Training;

Having been riding and/or racing this season you should have a good base- doing some longer climbs (such
as the Alps) will give an excellent power base, but any riding up until now should give you the foundation.

Hill Reps:

Reps I suggest starting around the end of September/early Oct, for an event which is the last weekend in October. Leeds is an excellent place to do some reps, with several hills which can be used to develop a
constant power (which is not possible on hair-pinned climbs due to accelerations needed to exit the hairpin.) Previously I’ve used the East Chevin Road out of Otley, which is 5.30-10min long depending on how well you’re going. Another climb which I suggest is Norwood Edge.
A couple of weeks of reps should stand you in good stead to compete at your best. Typically my reps include a warm-up riding to the hill, and then doing around 5 sets of reps, riding to tempo up the hill, rolling back down, spinning your legs and then riding back up. The aim of this is to get your body used to putting out a high level of power for a relatively short time. One of the reasons I chose East Chevin was because of it’s time being similar to that of a longer UK hill climb (such as Curbar Edge for the BUSA at 6min+). The best technique for reps is to stop as soon as you start going a certain percentage, say 25% less that your fastest time that day. E.g. when a 4min climb takes you 5min, stop and ride home.

Typically I’d do reps Monday & Tues, Weds do a ride on a hilly route (eg. Cow & Calf – Langbar- Cow & Calf) which is fairly short, but going quite hard on the hills. Thurs & Fri, possibly a short ride and/or day off. Normal rides again on Sat/Sun, but not massive miles. 50miles max is fine.

Backing off:

Two weeks of this should get you on form. A week before the hill climb, stop the hard rides, stop the reps. Chill out for the week; go on rides, but nothing that will stress the body too much. Short sprints are fine, but don’t over do it. This is especially important in the few days before the race.

Before the event;

Get your bike sorted in plenty of time, possibly the Wed or Thurs before the weekend You don’t need anything which is unnecessary; this means bottles, bottle cages, toolbags etc. These will slow you down. Make sure your bike is in good condition and for an extra boost- clean! Chain and cassette should be cleaned- you’ll lose a fair bit of energy if they’re covered in old grease. Tyres should be pumped up to recommended pressure- if they’re too hard or soft, it’ll slow you down.
Race day;

Review the course: When getting to the climb you should either drive, or ride the climb. If riding, go as slow as you like, keeping an eye on the steepness of the road (the bottom) and where the bends, and most importantly, the finish line is. If you’re off early, make sure you’re ready. Visit the toilet before you go (in plenty of time) and you’ll save a few seconds.

Clothing: Clothing to ride in should consist of just shorts and jersey; or if you’re keen, a skinsuit. No gilets, no jackets, no 3/4s, no armwarmers….jersey and shorts only! Gloves are optional, a HC is so short I don’t bother. Helmets again are optional- remember its extra weight!


The warm-up should hopefully be done on a turbo-trainer or rollers, it’s difficult to get warm enough just riding. A personal stereo helps with this… but keep an eye on the time! I tend to get on the turbo about 45-60min before my ride, the shorter the hill, the longer the warm-up. You should be wearing your race kit,
with your number on, but in addition you should have long legs, a warm top and a hat on. When you start going you’ll soon warm up, but the idea is to stay warm, don’t be tempted to strip off!

Start by easing your HR up, but then after getting up to speed add in some short, fast intervals- these will raise your HR and also start the lactic acid buffering process. Don’t go mental though! About 20min before my ride I tend to strip my legs off and apply warm-up oil, then get back on the turbo. Try to stay on the turbo for as long as you can, to get to the line warm. Remove your warm layer about 1-2min before you ride.


While doing your warm-up, you should have concentrated on your breathing, the best technique being “belly-breathing”, forcing out your diaphragm and your stomach. You may have seen pictures of Armstrong, Ullrich etc. looking rather portly while time-trialling; this is due to them using this technique. Inflate your lungs while warming up; try to get full capacity out of them. When you get to the line take several deep breaths and focus on the job at hand. Continue this technique throughout your ride.


Food is important too. High carbohydrate meal the days before if you can, normal breakfast of cereal, no fry-ups, or you’ll see it later! Make sure you eat on the way to the event, but don’t stuff yourself. While warming up I generally have a few energy gels, bars and bananas. Save the nice stuff for after the ride! Have a gel about 15min before you’re off. Also remember to drink, no fizzy stuff though; either water or an energy drink if possible

Minute men: Some of you may be fortunate enough to have a minute man (starting one minute ahead of you) slower than you; others may have two slow minute men. Some riders may not be as fortunate being a minute man yourself to a faster rider. A few things to remember about minute men; firstly, if you’re catching, ride smoothly up to the ride and ride straight past- no drafting. Do not accelerate to gain on them, just maintain the speed you were originally gaining on them at, sudden accelerations will ruin rhythm and put out unnecessary power which will be needed on the top section. Secondly if you get caught, do not try to accelerate to stay with the rider, they’ve already put a minute into you, which basically means they’re going a fair bit faster. Again, maintain your current speed, try to keep the rider in your sights, but if you can’t do that, don’t worry, just concentrate on getting to the top.

BUSA Hill Climb: Curbar Edge: (Could be applied to any long climb): The climb starts off steep, but don’t

go mental, get yourself up to speed, but don’t red-line it too soon. Gearing is also quite important on Curbar, at the start you want to be in around 17-18 sprocket, too low and your acceleration will not be smooth and result in a wasteful power spike. For the rest of the climb it’s likely you’ll be resigned to your bottom one or two sprockets on a road bike- its hard work in a 23, but possible if you go fast enough. A 25 or 27 have some advantages, especially if you’re not planning on flying up the hill. If you’re doing it on a mtb, I’d recommend the granny ring as a big no-no.

Shorter climbs (sub-4min) usually require slightly different technique, again don't go mad off the line, the extra power needed in the acceleration will cause you to go into debt too early and redline far before the top. Ease yourself off the line, get into a regular rhythm and it'll pay dividends by the top. With a climb this short you should be aiming to ride near 100% the whole race, but be wary of changes in gradients on the climb.Some climbs allow you to carry speed through sections (Weardley Bank, Cheddar Gorge, Maxstoke), you'll find yourself gaining speed through these sections of slight descent or flat. Use these sections to your advantage and try to speed up as much as you can - carry the speed though and it'll save time when the road kicks up again.

Steeper, more regular gradient climbs are usually best of done on a fixed gear bike, allowing power to be applied thoughout the pedal stroke. Don't be tempted on a climb which varies too much, you'll come unstuck!

Stay seated for as long as you can, you’ll have learnt and developed power to do this doing reps. Standing is a waste of energy. Keep your upper body relaxed, but in control. I used to prefer hill climbing on the drops, but I now favour the tops. In some cases the drops will be more aerodynamic, but often you can get more power through your legs and back by riding on the shifters. You may not like/be able to use the drops when climbing; just use your hoods- that’s fine. Keep your pedalling smooth and consistent over the climb- do not mash the gears like you’re Mr T, nor dance on them like a fairy! A smooth pedalling style should have been learnt though the reps. Some climbs do require sections of out-the-saddle climbing, this will hurt a lot, but is a necessary evil in these cases.

As you approach mid-way attempt to speed up a bit, but again don’t go mad. The top section of many climbs leaves many people lagging as they’ve gone too hard at the bottom; don’t be caught out, but save something for this bit- it will make the difference. Once rounding the final bend, ride so hard you can’t see!
Either sick or faint anyway! Many people throw themselves on the floor, do not be tempted to do this, it’s not really that good for you. Instead, ride slowly up the road, spinning your legs and breathing deeply to replenish your lungs; turn round and ride down. If possible have someone at the top with a jacket for you to put on. Get to the bottom, get changed, have some food and a drink. It’s likely you’ll have a “smokers cough” after the effort you’ve put out, but don’t worry about it.

And there you have it- a hill climb ridden to the best of your ability (I hope)!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

National Hill Climb 2011

Long Hill – near Buxton

•Distance – 4.44 miles

•Average gradient – 3%

•Height gain – 195m - 425m (approx 230m)

•A long unrelenting climb can be quite exposed when windy

This is the data on this years National Hill Climb which is being run by Buxton Cycling Club. The course record was set by Tejvan Pettinger in 2010 in 12mins 26sec average speed 21.5mph (34.6KPH). This is not a climb i have done but i will go down and recce the course before the championship but i feel that this is a climb which will suit a time trailer rather than a pure hill climber. I am looking forward to it as i like climbs you can get into a good rhythm in. It is not as steep as some of the longer climbs i do like snake pass but is a similar length but i feel that 3% average might just be a little to flat for me to try and compete with the fast time trailer's.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011


Just sent off my first entry for the 2011 season. Starting to get the hill climbing bug again. This is what i have been waiting for all year. Get to try out the new bike in competion which is another bonus.
These are the open hill climbs i will be doing this year.

September 4th Glossop Kinder Velo Snake Pass
September 11th Buxton CC J9/13
September 18th ABC Centreville J9/11
September 25th Bridlington CC V491
October 1st Otley CC (2stage) V891/V897
October 8th Holme Valley Wheelers Holme Moss
                    Huddersfield Star Wheelers V9912
October 9th Sheffrec CC OHC/3
October 16th Huddersfield Road Club V999
October 30th RTTC National Championship

So let the climbing begin.

Friday, 5 August 2011


For my steady ride before tomorrows hill reps this is what's in my jersey
This is what i take on most of my rides
1. Rain Jacket - its needed in yorkshire
2. Apple iphone
3. Pump
4. House and garage keys
5. Energy food in it's own bio degradable wrapper.