Race Report: RTTC British National Hill Climb Championships
Updated: May 20, 2019
Elevation enthusiasts and cow bell ringers flocked to Pea Royd Lane to watch the countries finest battle it out for the coveted national titles. A few brave climbers of past, present and future UoNCC members featured in this years line up.
The British National Hill Climb championships takes place around the same time every year, at the end of the main hill climb season. The location changes every year but aims to pit riders against the toughest inclines the UK has to offer. Courses vary from short sharp climbs lasting around 2 minutes up to long drags lasting over 15 minutes. For 2018 the original course was changed with one months notice from Shelsley Walsh, Wocestershire to the equally brutal Pea Royd Lane, Stocksbridge. Pea Royd Lane was last used as a national hill climb course in 2014 using the 1.1km full climb. This year to best reflect the original climb at Shelsley Walsh the 0.7km course was selected. This incidently was the same course at the 2017 BUCS Hill Climb Championships that we competed on as a club last year! Pea Royd Lane is a 0.7km climb with an average graident of 14%, topping out at a whopping 17.4%. The short length of the course means pacing is difficult and giving it full gas from the start is not a unreasonable choice. The start line is just before the start of the lane and the course immediately turns left and immediately the gradient is quad burning. After a brief easing of gradient, dropping down to a not insignificant 10%, the climb then swoops round the final bend as the gradient returns with vengence. The further up the climb you go the more the crowds gather. Spectators from club across the country gather to cheer on friends and strangers using a variety of implements to make as much noise as possible. From the professional cow bell ringers to the pot and pan bashers. Just before the summit the white chalk finish line surround by high viz clad marshals is a welcome sight for all the riders. On passing over the line most riders have emptied every last sap of energy from their legs so rely on the marshals to catch them and roll them up to the summit as they recover the energy to safely unclip and dismount.
Strava segment: https://www.strava.com/segments/1193299
Race HQ was kindly provided by the local stocksbridge Trek store in the Fox Valley retail park. This provided the perfected base for all the riders to gather before and after the race. Riders are set off at 30 seconds/1 minute intervals so throughout the morning the Fox Valley retzil park was bustling with riders pinning on numbers, making last minute bike prep and warming up. After racing riders returned to layer up and feast from the various retail outlets before returning back up the hill to join in with the ever increasing atmosphere building up to the race favourites.
The weather on the day was cold but sunshine filled the sky for most of the riders. A brief downpour of icy rain and hail made conditions challenging for the unlucky men towards the second half of riders. However, the sun managed to return and dry up for the final few riders. The wind was barely noticable going up the climb despite a forecast headwind. It appears that the hill itself seemed to shelter riders from the wind for the majority of it.
Anyone from a CTT affiliated club (that includes UoNCC!) can enter the RTTC National Hill Climb Championships. The accepted entries list is then formed based on riders CTT results in the past year and announced two weeks before the event. This year we had an excellent representation of past, present and future UoNCC members making up the starting list on the day. Alumnus Tom Southey was off early, representing his new club Bristol South CC in some flashy new kit (not as good as UoNCC kit but acceptable). He managed a time of 3:20.0 placing 150th. Next up was (future club member ;) ) Sam Hucks riding for High Wycombe CC. He grabbed 15th junior male in a time of 2:56.4. Finally, for the men was Luke Hind representing Bolsover And District CC . Hind came in with 02:50.1 and a respectable 67th.
The women saw women's captain, Laura Owler, and road captain, Emily Kate Walton, represent Beeston CC alongside their teamate, Yasmin Marks. Both managed to beat the times they had set on the course at BUCS the previous year. Emily snagged 22nd with a time of 03:52.4, a massive improvement from 4:11.4 last year. Laura bossed her way to 35th with 04:15.8, gliding past her 04:16.1 2017 time, despite waving to the fans on her way up. Even more impressive than their individual times Beeston CC actually won the Women's team prize!
The atmosphere at a hill climb is like no other cycling event and nationals is no exception to that, in fact it's even better! The hill climbing season is now coming to a close (bring on the cake eating!) but if we managed to pique your interested with our BUCS and nationals reports then do not hesitate to get involved next year. It's super inclusive and suitable for anyone who can ride a bike, so get involved!
For the full results: https://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/race-results/16471#anchor
For the official race report: https://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/race-report/16471#anchor
We'd also like to give a massive shout out to everyone who got out on bikes this weekend! In particular, well done to our century riders. You battled an array of winter elements on Sunday to successful complete 100miles to Lincoln and back, kudos. Also, kudos for all the CX warrriors (Tim Jones and David Yap) proving that road bikers do know how to get dirty and we aren't all doomed to watt bikes for winter.
(Photo Creds to: Phil Evans, Tom Southey, Fiona May, John McCay, Ellen Isherwood)