I may as well get the bragging bit out the way now. We had our annual club hill climb event this morning and having won the last two years I was certainly a favourite for the event (fortunately for me the club’s strongest tester wasn’t racing). This year’s race was more competitive than previous years, and I had serious concerns about a couple of our new riders. Still, I managed to hold my three closest rivals off by 7 seconds (yes, 3 riders finished on the same time) and took victory with a personal best. Not a bad start to a Sunday morning.
Cycling club hill climbs traditionally fall at the end of the road season and it is one of my favourite events on the club calendar, although I do find it a peculiar one, especially for somewhere as topographically challenged as Cambridgeshire. Our hills are either reasonably steep but very short, or long and draggy. Our current course falls into the later category. I’m not a fan of Time Trialling, perhaps because I am not very good at it, but put me on a gradient and I’m happy, especially if it means being the first or fastest to the top.
The hill climb is just a short, mad effort and that appeals to me. Juggling family and work mean it is difficult for me to commit to the type of disciplined training regime favoured by time triallists, at least that is my excuse. The hill climb however, is too short to worry about measuring your effort and pacing, in our case you only need about 5 minutes to complete the distance. So to win my strategy is simple and straightforward; start riding hard, continue riding hard and finish riding hard. On a cold morning, the air will cut to the back of your throat and your lungs will burn. The lactic will build in your legs, they’ll ache, but put up with it, no one ever won a race without a bit of pain; you are only racing for the period of an Ad-break, or the time it takes to boil a kettle and then it is over.