The 2014 national hill climb championships was held on the closed roads of Pea Royd Lane. – ably promoted by Stocksbridge CC. Like 2009, there was a strong tailwind, and this year there was also a very nice smooth, recently resurfaced, road surface. As the organiser, Stewart Smith said – perhaps the only road in the Sheffield area to be resurfaced – so we were treated very well. A bit of Tour de France fever still lingered over into this late October event. I think the crowd was quite a bit more than 2009. – There was certainly a great wall of noise up the last half of the climb.
I finished in 4th place, in 3.32. Dan Evans (Team Elite) was a deserved winner in a storming time of 3.24, Matt Clinton (Mike Vaughan Cycles) once again raised his game for the national to take second in 3.26, and Adam Kenway (Team Zenith/Buzz Cycles) got onto the podium with a 3.28. In the women’s event, Markya Sennema (Kingston Wheelers CC) (4.35) retained her title (also giving great hope and inspiration to those of us approaching the better side of 40). 2nd was Lou Collins (Beeston RC) (4.42.1) and third, former champion Lyn Hamel (Trainsharp RT) (4.42.6)
Also pretty impressive ride from hill climb stalwart Chris Myhill Peak RC – 3:51.1 – 18th place at 48 . Pete Tadros was top vet in 3.49. 17 Harry Luxton RuTrainingToday time of 03:40.6 – 9th place overall and 1st junior was also another impressive ride.
2014 hill climb season
It has been a great standard of hill climbs this year. Even setting a course record hasn’t always been enough to get a first place. Like Mow Cop, where M.Clinton held a course record for 1.8 minutes, and Horseshoe pass where I went faster than a CR (previously held by Dangerfield, Boardman and Dobbin) only to find Dan Evans had gone 10 seconds quicker in 8.52. It’s also great to see entries for hill climbs on the rise. The organiser received nearly 280 applications for 180 places – making a difficult start sheet to devise. When did hill climbs become so popular?
As reigning national champion, it’s been a great year and I’ve enjoyed riding the national jersey at events up and down the country. Since May, I’ve done 16 hill climbs, which is quite a lot! I’ve won 13 opens and set 7 course records – not a bad record. But, it’s the national hill climb championship which is the big draw. Once you’ve won it once, you would like very much to get back on top.
Last night I had a vivid dream that I finished 4th in the national hill climb championship. Although I tried my best to forget, what proved to be an irritatingly prescient dream, I didn’t have the same hope as last year – when I was virtually unbeaten in the lead up to the championship on the Stang.
I got there early to get a good parking spot and was ably assisted by Sri Chinmoy CT team mate Vilas Silverton in getting ready and warming up. A couple of friends also came up all the way from London to see what hill climbs are all about. They enjoyed it so much they’ve promised to enter a hill climb next year. I shall hold them to their word…
Before the race, I also caught up with old OUCC teammate – and five times national champion Jim Henderson – my family also had come out to watch.
I had a good warm-up and felt much better after riding the bike – (much better than waiting around waiting for event to start). I felt good on the start line and made a steady start and tried to lift the pace all the way up. It was much faster than in training and it all seemed to go in a blur. I don’t remember thinking about anything, I was just really in the flow.
There was a lot of noise and enthusiastic encouragement. It all seemed to be over pretty quick. The tailwind finish was different to when I’d done it in training.
I sat in the grass at the top for a bit as people took some photos as I lay in the grass. I felt strangely relieved and happy to have finished my 10th national hill climb and another 4th place. Next year is Jackson Bridge and I’ll be looking forward to that. But, I might just have a piece of cake before I go out and get the winter miles in.
Also, thanks a lot to Gordon Wright who has kindly been giving me some expert coaching over the past two months. I don’t think I could have come into the championship any better prepared than I was.
The Trek Emonda was irritatingly good. I say irritatingly good because I really want to get one now, but am still paying off the loan for the last bike…
Results and splits
- Results at Velo UK
- Album of National hill climb photos by Dan Monaghan at Dan Monaghan.co.uk
- Russell Ellis – album at Flickr
Note: this is just a personal blog, not a comprehensive report. I will try upload more photos later.
Video of 2014 event
First rider off.
Rider One – 1 down, 179 to go. I took a photo of first rider, and then went off to get ready. I wasn’t really in photography mode.
Two National champions. Jim Henderson finished 3rd in 2009 – bringing his hill climb career to an end after five national titles. (He still managed the Rake in 2.33 in 2014 – not a bad time for retirement!)
Who says hill climbs need to be a serious affair?