All my hill climbs are done.
I’m not sure whether to feel happy or sad about this.
I started with my local bike club’s double hill climb at Drayton/Medbourne, followed by the Monsal hill climb in Derbyshire. and finishing with the BUCS hill climb. Although each climb was very different to the previous it has been a great experience and I have learnt a great deal (particularly about how hard I can push myself).
Maybe three climbs does not constitute a ‘season’ but it’s the first time I have trained specifically for anything and, since I have done almost no racing before, has been a nice way to get used to the whole palaver.
My first hill climb, made up of two separate climbs, taught me to always check where the finish line is (although it moved even after I checked for the second part). A positive I got from this race was that I knew that I timed both warm ups perfectly and arrived at each start line, heart-rate raised, with only a couple of minutes to spare.
My second race, at Monsal, was more for the experience than for a good result as I knew I had to cycle a 40 mile round trip in order to get to it. Despite this (and the really cold weather), I again felt I had a good warm up and still rode a good time up the hill. Monsal was very different from the previous race which had been made up of two longer, more gentle climbs. This time it was short, (very) sharp and brutal. Jessie Walker, newly signed to Horizon Fitness, was the fastest placed woman.
Finally – BUCS. As the national championships for university sport ‘Team Sheffield’ took this very seriously and everyone had been doing specific hill training for weeks before. Our road captain managed to organise an amazing ‘base camp’ for us with a large gazebo for us to warm up under. We also got our hands on several cars to bring out turbos/rollers/coats/pumps/food. Thus it was possible to have a well controlled warm up and be ready to roll up to the line perfectly prepared. It was a really fun day with a great sense of camaraderie.
Like Monsal, BUCS was a great opportunity to race against a wide range of riders – ranging from pros like Annie Simpson and Sarah Byrne to complete beginners who had never competed before.
Now that I’ve finished the hill climbs I can say that I have really enjoyed the whole experience. Training with an aim has given me drive and purpose. It has also pushed me to get out on the bike despite inclement weather/tiredness/uni work. I have learnt new techniques for training, done my first turbo sessions and defeated some nasty hills.
But now I feel a little lost…probably need to start thinking about next year’s aims!
|Race||My position and time||Fastest woman||Overall winner|
|Kettering CC HC||11th 06:04||9th Sian Edwards 05:59||Adrian Read 05:05|
|Monsal HC||105th 2.30.2||52ndJessie Walker 1.55.8||Gunnar Groenlund 1.26.0|
|BUCS HC (womens)||12th 08:43||Sarah Byrne 07:18||N/A|