Yesterday we headed down to Frome for the world famous Cobble Wobble. There were a few rain showers throughout the day, but the crowds stuck around & lined the hill for the ‘King of the cobbles’ final showdown. The race was eventually won by 4X MTB rider Michael Prokop, who pipped last year’s winner Lewis Lacey to the line. We had the HWTV camera in full swing, so kick back & watch the new video & please share it with the world for us, thanks!
I took advantage of being oop North at the weekend to go watch the National Hill Climb and give a bit of support to club members PJ and Glyn.
As I nipped out for breakfast in the morning the Manchester weather was cold and damp, with the incessant drizzle that it seems to hold so close to his heart. Ominous for those attempting to ride extremely fast up a hill. Especially when the hill in question is ‘The Rake’.
The Rake is pretty steep. The event program (a glorious DIY photocopied thing by the host club Lancashire Road Club) gives the key facts of; ‘The Rake climbs 321 feet in 947 yards giving and average gradient of 1 in 8.8′, this translates into new money as averaging around 11 % for 0.9 km. The real savage parts comes with the 20% start and a 25% kick with plenty of tarmac left before the finish line. As you would expect I chose to situate myself just after this part for most of the race, it was good for pain face spotting but also the part where the competitors needed the most encouragement which I duly helped provide. There where plenty of people out despite the inclement weather and it made for a good atmosphere.
I was astounded by the age range of competitors, yes I expected a smattering of juniors and some vets but an age range of 12 – 68 blew my mind a little. Amazing that people of these ages can even ride up the thing but some of the juniors where super quick with James Knox even breaking the top 10!
There were some incredible bikes on show, the majority of people rode carbon road bikes but a few purists where riding fixed (PJ included), this included a Cannondale Track!
Choice of gear for fixed seemed to be in the 54 – 57 range, though the top end of that seemed a little too large. As the excellent commentator, event secretary and winner many moon ago Peter Graham pointed out to PJ as he worked hard through the steepest section ‘He DEFINITELY looks oooverr geaaared thurrrr’.
This beast had a drilled out saddle and shows all the elements of what is generally thought to make a good hill climb bike for the short steep stuff. Single front ring, base bar/bar ends with a tt shifter and weight savings made wherever possible (drillium saddle!). Around 85 psi seemed to be the tyre pressure of choice for keeping traction in the wet conditions.
PJ and Glyn both had excellent rides, carding 02.51.2 and 02.37.5 respectively. Giving them 37th and 8th positions. Cracking ride by all and Glyn finished a long season by breaking the top 10.
The event was won by hot favourite Jack Pullar with a 02.21.3 giving a 5 second winning margin over his closest rival (and defending champion) Gunnar Gronlund with 02.26.0, Matt Clinton rounded out the podium. He was one of the few riders I watched at the finish and his speed over the line took me aback.
The very top is where the brutality of the climb is most evident. I spoke to PJ up there who proclaimed he had ‘gone deep into the death zone’ and kept touching his chest as if to make sure his heart wasn’t going to pop out.
Full results are up on the CTT website.
It is my intention to try and ride a National Hill Climb one year, but now investing so much into road seasons is going to make it hard to keep my focus for a month longer! We will have to see…..
*I make no apologies for poor picture quality.
This Sunday once again reminded me why I love riding bikes & living in Bristol. Almost every Sunday myself & Ed will go for a ride, and are sometimes joined by 1, maybe 2 other riders to put in a few miles. This Sunday was the Bristol South CC hill climb at Burrington, so we had a little round up via the social networks & managed to get together a group of 9 of us for a ride out to support close friends & local riders as they battled with the infamous Burrington Combe climb.
The ride out was foggy but fun, then we joined the largest crowd on a corner to watch all the riders compete, including Christian, Dan B & Mark, as well as eventual winner Paul Jones aka PJ (winner of last week’s Hell Climb). There was a great atmosphere & there were spectators of all ages, it feels great to be part of what is such a good cycling community.
Once the prizes were handed out we set off for the ride home in what was glorious sunshine, taking on a hill challenge of our own, in form of Wrington. I took a bunch of photos thoughout the morning & they are all below in glorious iPhone quality. Now grab some friends & go ride!
Well, the weather held out & we had a sunny afternoon on Dundry with a great turn out for today’s Hell Climb! 47 riders raced up the 1.5 climb & by the seems of it everyone had fun in the sun. We’d like to say a big thank you to everybody who rode, along with all those that came out to watch & support the riders. We will post a more indepth look at the event soon, but for now, here are the full results. Congratulations to Dan Alford, Lucy Walker & Paul Jones for wins in the 3 categories.
It’s only a few days away, and we’ve spent the past few hours putting together the final parts of Sunday’s event. We’re nearly there now & we can’t wait to see you guys there. Tonight we’re excited to bring you more prize fund news, this time from Bath’s longest running bike shop – Avon Valley Cyclery.
Avon Valley Cyclery have 2 stores which stock all kinds of bikes & accessories from brands like Giant, Cube, Charge, Oakley, Mission Workshop & stacks more. They’ve been kind enough to donate prizes to all 3 of the winners (1st Pro, 1st Bro & 1st Girl) in form of gift vouchers & goodies. As well as this they will be putting a whole bunch of hand-up prizes which everyone has a chance to win if they grab a ‘dollar’ along the course. Oh, and join their Strava group for a chance to win monthly prizes.
In the run up to this coming Sunday’s Hell Climb, we are giving a nod to each of the sponsors of the event with a little word on who they are & what they do. Second up we have Bristol based clothing brand Antic Apparel. We are super happy to have these guys on board as, like us they are Bristol based, and we like to keep things nice & local, the guys at Antic were really excited about sponsoring the event & just couldn’t say no!
They have donated t-shirts to the winners’ prize fund as well as a bunch of small goodies for hand-up prizes available through the day. Remember, even if you don’t put in a race winning time, if you put the extra effort in to grab a ‘dollar’ hand-up then you will be sure to take home a prize!
Autumn is upon us, the road racing season is over & the hill climb season is getting close, that means only one thing – the return of the world famous Hell Climb.
On Sunday 14th October Hamilton Wheelers are bringing back the event after the success of the recent Tunnel Sprint event. If you are not aware of the Hell Climb, the full details are below the amazing flyer designed by kateland.co.uk.
-The course is a 1.4 mile climb hill climb.
-We will be setting riders off individually at 1 minute intervals.
-This is a singlespeed & fixed gear race, whatever size wheel you ride, as long as you only have 1 gear!
-There will be bonus ‘hand up’ prizes on the course, if you put the work in to grab these, you will take home a bonus prize!
-There will be 3 categories of racers – Pros, Bros & Girls. Pros will be those riders that have experience racing CTT or British Cycling recognised events. Bros will be for the guys that are in it for the fun & have no race experience. The girls category will be open to all the girls racing.
-Sign on will be at 1:30pm on 14th October, with racing starting at 2pm. Sign on will be on the green on Highridge Road, see here for a map.
We welcome you to enter online, saving time on the day, and giving us an idea of numbers for each category. We would like you to be honest with the category you choose, but we have the final say as to which category you race in.
This was an interesting one. It was essentially a bunch start hill climb up Haytor Vale, a three mile race organised by Mid Devon Cycling Club!
4 of The South attended, including bang in form Sam Larkham, on the verge of moving to second cat. Tom gave me and Mark a lift down there as Sam was making a day of it in his old camper van.
Setting of for a race at 5 on a Saturday had me totally out of kilter. I did not know what to eat when, I also did not get my bag ready the night before. This, coupled with the fact that in my mind I was doing a hill climb meant I forgot my helmet. I was fairly comfortable that as this was coupled with a sportive the day after (a pretty beastly one) I would be able to borrow a helmet.
About that sportive, the start list email said ‘sign on in the event village’, this was mad. We had to queue to get into the car park which was full of cars with snazzy bikes on top. Once in the village we were greeted with a lot of stands, including a pop up masage parlour and live music. Martin Johnson was spotted outside the Specialized tent. A bit grander than the usual village hall. There is certainly plenty of money in these things. In the sign on tent after asking a few people we finally got directed to the race sign on. There were 2800 people entered into the sportive (75K turnover by my maths!), hence the traffic at the carpark and a total of about 35 people in the BC race across all categories……
We signed on, I had a conversation with a chap that went as follows; Me; ‘is there a helmet I could borrow, I stupidly left mine in Bristol’. The guy I asked eyes lit up; ‘what size’, Me; ‘About a medium/large’, Guy; ‘I have just the thing’, the following was presented to me;
Low amount of vents, check. Fluoro colour, check. That is the current trend for helmets right?
After my fellow team mates had laughed a lot we headed out to warm up. Stumbling upon a suitable hill after following a lady from Zappis (who went on to win the women’s race). That was pretty lucky. We then headed back for the briefing which meant we warmed down, but then warmed up again as we rolled 4 or so miles neutralised to the bottom of the climb. We subsequently warmed down again as we waited about 10 minutes to start. I also did about 6 pisses before we started, this seems to happen from time to time.
From the off the pace shot straight up, courtesy of aformentioned Mr Larkham. The young kid in front of me had trouble clipping in so me and Tom scrambled round him. We were already strung out in a long line. I tried to get into a rhythm as quickly as possible, in my mind I had already decided to ride at my own pace if it went off. A group of about 6 broke up the road as the elastic snapped after only half a mile. My heart rate was already high so I just kept it that way, settled into a nice cadence and started to pass the 5 or so people in front of me that had tried in vein to hang on to the group of 6. One other guy came with me and quickly came past me. He was making ferocious breathing noises, this convinced me to just pick my time to move past him as he popped.
The middle section of Haytor is pretty vile, it has a nasty kick that broke a few people for sure, to bad for me they were all behind me. I looked back and there was a decent sized gap to the next man on the road.
As we entered the downhill section the person in front of me really pushed on, reinforcing in my mind that he would pop on the finishing section which kicks up again, I kept it under control. Keeping in mind what resident BSCC hill climb expert PJ had said about what was to follow; ‘It has a downhill. You’ll be reaching for the big ring – I guarantee it. You must not break your rhythm or overcook it, in fact, you have to bear in mind that as soon as you pass the car park on the left the road pitches up again for another really steep bit, and it’s horrible because you can see the finish. The last section, around 500 metres or so, is absolutely revolting, not because it’s unduly steep, but because it comes at the end of some serious effort. If you’re riding with someone at this point and you’ve got something left in the tank you can kill it.’
He was right on all counts. I wasn’t riding with anyone but my man still out in front was on a piece of elastic, I closed the gap but he didnt come back fully. I crested the top in 8th place. Pleased to be in amongst the points. It hurt quite a bit, I borked a lot. Tom was slumped over his bars on the verge of being sick. I am still convinced I can hurt myself more when it comes to the cunch.
Completing a strong showing for BSCC Tom had finished in 5th and Sam in 4th. Mark narrowly missed out on his first pointed, being pipped to 10th by around 2 inches after a rider worked him over to come round at the finish. Strangely, we were all spaced by about 30 seconds. Project Cat 2 was complete for Sam, congratulations mate!
The weather was coming in at the top so we headed down as quickly as possible, kindly directed back to the HQ by a MDCC who was tonking along. When you descend hills, it really brings home how long they are, and we were assisted by gravity for a fair while.
To top off the successful day I was allowed to keep the helmet, chuffed to bits! If you are the guy that gave me this, you cannot comprehend how happy this has made me, as well as everyone else who has laid eyes on it since.
Finally I must apologise for writing a thousand word essay on a three mile race, maybe I remembered more because it was shorter than usual?
The following is taken from the latest press release for the Red Bull Hill Chasers 2012…
RED BULL HILL CHASERS 2012
Britain’s Dual Up Hill Bike Challenge Returns to Park Street, Bristol on 18th February !
Park Street, in the heart of Bristol, will play host to Red Bull Hill Chasers where 32 cyclists will come together in an attempt to settle the fierce debate of which bike discipline is best uphill.
Red Bull Hill Chasers will see 16 elite and 16 amateur cyclists from BMX, mountain bike, road cycling and fixed-gear compete in a series of gruelling head-to-head knockout rounds on the unforgiving incline. Riders will be paired randomly giving amateur riders the chance to compete against the elite. Look out for some big name competitors!
A knockout format will halve the field until just two riders remain for the ultimate showdown. This year, the course has been shortened and pinch points added to make the race equal amongst all disciplines. A qualifying round will be held on Hill Street, just off Great George Street, between 8.30am and 11:00am on 18th February.
In 2011, the final of the Red Bull Hill Chasers event in Bristol was truly awesome. Charge Bikes team rider Chris Metcalfe eventually won the knock-out competition in front of a huge crowd. In all, 16 national and international pro cyclists, including Red Bull Athlete Danny MacAskill, competed head-to-head in drag races against top local cyclists from five different disciplines; road, fixed, BMX, cyclocross and mountain bike.
After the race Metcalfe said, “The crowd is so close to you as you ride up the hill that they really spur you on and it’s great that relative unknowns can ride against some of the best riders in the world, all right in the centre of Bristol!”
For your chance to compete against the elite as one of the 16 amateur riders go to www.redbull.co.uk/hillchasers and register for your place in the qualifier.
Saturday, February 18th, 2012
7.00 pm start
Park Street, Bristol
Supplied by Charge Bikes:
1st – Gold Bike Frame
2nd – Silver Bike Frame
3rd – Bronze Bike Frame
For your chance to compete against some of the top cyclists in the world and become Red Bull Hill Chasers 2012 Champion, please register for the qualifier by completing the application form here: www.redbull.co.uk/hillchasers
The qualifier is open to all and will be held on Hill Street which runs parallel with Park Street, just off Great George Street, from 8.30am – 11am on Saturday 18th February. Come ready to ride!
We will be in touch shortly after the qualifier by text to let you know if you have qualified for Red Bull Hill Chasers. Entry closes on 15th February 2012.
For more information on format and rules go to: www.redbull.co.uk/hillchasers
Check out the video from last years event: http://www.redbull.co.uk/cs/Satellite/en_UK/Video/Red-Bull-Hill-Chasers-The-highlights-021242960421785
Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/152985878148428/