Race Report: BUCS Hill Climb Championships 2018 - Mam Tor
Just a few weeks into the first term of the 18/19 university year and the time arrived for the first UoNCC BUCS event of the season – Hill Climb!
This year the selected venue was Mam Tor in the Peak district. Many of us have enjoyed the delights of the neighbouring climb Winnat’s Pass, so were familiar with the brutal ascents that the Peak District had to offer. The climb is 2.1km long with an average gradient of 10% maxing out at 15.6%. It winds up from Barber Booth with breath taking scenery on offer the whole way up (if the gradient hasn’t already sapped all the breath from your lungs). After a steep start there is a short lived gentle section at 0.8km before it returns with vengeance to wind up until the summit at Mam Tor. Many brave souls had recced the climb the previous weekend with others preferring to go off of memory on the day.
Teams for the climb were selected on a “who wants to do it” basis. Hill climb is one of the rare BUCS events where we can submit as many entries as we want and stand a good chance of getting the majority accepted. This year was no exception. All 18 riders who were entered (14 male and 4 female) were accepted to ride in the event. We were one of the largest teams at hill climb this year!
Despite a vicious round of “Freshers Flu” sweeping the university in the preceding weeks, we managed to get a full turn out of riders on the day including a few loyal spectators. There was even a surprise visit from our very own UoN sport mascot, Sherwood the Stag. Our wonderful spectators brought with them top banter, brilliant cheers and all the noise! It was wonderful to have our own corner of green and gold on the road.
We arrived in plenty of time to a seamless and well organised sign on. Large yellow numbers were pinned on to kit and transponders were secured to forks (none including spokes thankfully!). Warm ups were completed in a variety of methods. Turbos were spun, rollers were rolled (with and without the wall for support) and the well tested ten minute car park spin was utilised.
It was a glorious day to be in the peaks as the women set off to start the competition off. Riders were started at 30 seconds intervals based on the order in which they were entered. First to tackle the climb was Anna Burt, finishing an amazing 24th in her first ever hill climb! Second rider off was Rosie Wallace coming in at 32nd in her first BUCS event. Women’s Captain, Laura Owler, was next up bagging 23rd place with a fantastic improvement on last year (despite “being sick in her mouth 5 times”). Finally for the women was Road Captain, Emily Walton, sneaking into the top 10 with a 9th place. With the women’s field getting bigger and stronger each year it was amazing to be able to have 4 of our riders making up the 52 total women on Saturday.
Once all the women had started it was time for the men to start. Again this was at 30 second intervals but with an absolutely stack field of the strongest hill climbers the UK universities have to offer. Adam Titi put in an excellent effort coming 188th despite struggling with asthma during the long ascent. Tomas Kulveitis and Griff Jones took on the climb to finish a fantastic 186th and 180th respectively. After an early season of injury our Welfare Sec, Phil Evans, came back for his second ever BUCS cycling competition to grab 178th.
Despite some collar bone mishaps earlier in the season David Yap came in at 151st. Giving double ironman’s a rest and diving into the superior sport of cycling, James Harkin snagged 148th. First year student, Jim Warren snuck in at 136th. As no stranger to the odd “Top 100 Climb” Fred Hunter looked like he was out for a café spin as he grabbed 120th. After making his roller debut during the warm up, keen fresher, Matt Taylor came in at 108th. Dipping into the top 50% Michael Gill grabbed 72nd place while Luke Hind crept into the top 50 with a 44th place.
Our top 3 men sadly missed out on the team prizes to some insanely strong teams but put in some awesome individual performances regardless. Jamie Philpott, another nearly converted triathlete/runner rounded off our top 3 with a nice 33rd place. The awesome display of green and gold kit today was all thanks to Kit Sec, Ollie Hucks, as he put in a fantastic climb to secure 21st. However, our top rider of the day was Seb Garry putting in an effort so rapid that even Sherwood the Stag couldn’t keep up as he flew up the second half of the climb. This rapid ascent landed him in an incredible 6th place!
As a club we would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who came along to support on Saturday (you know who you are!) as well as a massive congrats to everyone who competed from all universities. Also shout out to our coach and driver from Swift coaches for a smooth and comfortable journey. We would also like to praise all the event organisers and volunteers that made it such a seamless event.
Keep your eyes peeled for the GoPro footage. Filmed and edited by our treasurer and cross boss, Tim Jones, it's not to be missed!
Check out the gory details of the climb here: https://veloviewer.com/segments/7121325 and https://www.climbbybike.com/climb.asp?Col=Mam-Tor&qryMountainID=7408
Strava segment: https://www.strava.com/segments/7121325
Check out the full results list here: https://my2.raceresult.com/110648/?lang=en
Full photo gallery from Phil Evans: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1kWXjqpvCF2ZJV4se_wzGIiIUgdmFWphV?fbclid=IwAR0vvZ65rZR48M0hKH5ra7ICBjAgUk9lhq6HQgjZH22iwRazt2vZdlb-k6Y