I survived the two stage hill climb, and with the weather the way it was survival was the name of the game.. The picture is of my warm up for the second event.. It rainned all morning which made warming up difficult. I rode the climbs on my fixed gear Specialized Langster, but took my winter bike to warm up on. Even with mud gaurds I got pretty wet.. As I understand it, the shorter the event the longer your warm up should be. Well I figured 30 minutes in the pouring rain was enough, I then swapped bikes, took off my waterproofs and leggings and rode to the start.
The first hill was Dovers hill. This has been used for the national hill climb championship in the past, and I think it may be the venue again in 2010. Anyway, earlier in the year I did a club time trial up it, organised by Evesham wheelers. It was the day after my clubs hill climb up Ankerdine where I had tried really hard. On Ankerdine I did 3mins 33seconds which was a pb for me. I'd ridden up Dovers on my standard road bike before but never raced so I had no idea how I would go. I managed 5mins 13 seconds and felt ok most of the way, so I thought 5 mins might be possible on a good day.
The day of the hill climb was not a good day though! I also messed up and sat up about 200yards before the finish thinking I was at the end... I realised almost straight away but it's hard to get going again. Even so I did 5mins 13sec, the same time as I had done before!
The next climb was up Stainbury hill and I had almost 2hours to prepair. I spent this time wisely, sitting in the car with the climate control on maximum, trying to dry my clothes! My warm up for the second hill was the grand total of the 5minutes it took me to ride to the start. I was properly cold and still wet, not nice. Even so I felt like I went better up the slightly longer and more varied gradient of Stainbury. my time was 7mins 57sec. I'd only riden up this hill once before on my fixed bike and did 8mins 15sec so I was quite pleased with my time.
My total time was just over 13 minutes, I had hoped to get just under 13, but as it was such a horrid day a few seconds outside was ok. The problem with bad weather is that some people don't turn up to ride. Unfortunatly the ones who don't turn up are usually the only ones that I can beat, the quick guy still race, so my overall position wasn't up to much, but at least I was there.
The winner, Matt Clinton managed 10mins 7 seconds! and beat national hill climb champion, James Dobbin into 2nd place. Also riding was a guy called Tejvan Pettinger, who also knows how to ride a bike up a hill.. The day before the race I googled Dovers Hill and found his web site. It's really very good.. much better than this blog! If your into cycling, check it out. http://cyclinginfo.co.uk/blog/
Anyway, I really enjoyed the event and as a result I have done something really stupid... I've sent an entry off for the national hill climb championships! 150 of the best climbers in the country going up a big hill at one minute gaps, against the clock. I doubt if I'll get in as they obviously pick the fastest riders first, but I figured I may as well enter as I would have gone to watch anyway.. If I do get in my aim is not to come last, a top 100 place would be fantastic.....