Riding on the right side of the road

Short video by Liam Rees of Ilkley CC.

This year, I didn’t pre-ride Bank Road, or even think about how to ride the hill. When I got to the corner, I think I might have subconsciously tried to avoid going on wrong side of the road.  There was probably a better line to take.

Even though the road was closed to traffic, it’s hard to break the habit of a lifetime and cycle on the wrong side of the road. Continue Reading →

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Hill climb bike 2016 + Video + Photos

Firstly, an on board camera video from Courtney Blockley-Campton.

Courtney finished in a time of 2:37.5 (29th). Perhaps without on-board camera he may have finished in a time of 2.37.4. But, it captures what it is like to race up Bank Road.

You can roughly calculate time saved from weight loss

My 2016 hill climb bike


5.7 kg

This year I didn’t really get into the world of marginal gains. I even left a Shimano Ultegra derailleur on. It is about 500 grams heavier than 2015 Hill climb bike. Continue Reading →

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National hill climb championship 2016

This year 2016 National hill climb championship was held on Bank Road, Matlock. Adam Kenway 2.18.2  (Metaltek Kuoata RT) and Lou Bates 2.57.1 (Veloschils Interbike RT) were the respective men and women champions.

Adam Kenway has been in great form this year from winning the very short Monsal Head (1.16.5) to much longer climbs like the Cat and Fiddle, and Long Hill. However, nine days before the championship he was involved in an accident (training on Bank Road ironically). However, despite lingering issues and only deciding to race at the last minute, he managed to produce a superb time. In 2nd place, Isaac Mundy kept up the very good tradition of hill climbs for Oxford University CC. 3rd place was James Lowden (Team ASL360)


In the women’s championship Lou Bates finally made the top step of the podium after finishing 2nd and 3rd in previous years. Becky Lewis 2nd (Wrexham RC) and Joanne Clay 3rd (TORQ Performance)  made up the podium. Though as someone who has finished 4th on a couple of occasions, honourable mention to Joscelin Lowden (Lewes Wanderers CC) who was just 0.1 second off the podium. Marginal gains and all that.

(Haven’t seen results for juniors / vets yet. But, it was good to see Bill Bell flying the flag for vet men. Bill was very narrowly 2nd to Matt Clinton at the last HC champs in 2008 on Bank Road. I’m now starting to pay more attention to the vet category now…

  • Harvey Weinberger, junior men champion
  • Anna Henderson, junior women champion


It wasn’t the best day for former national hill climb champions with four men  (Richard Bussell, Dan Evans, Matt Clinton and Tejvan (me) and two women (Lynn Hamel and Maryka Sennema all missing out on a podium finish (I don’t think I’ve missed any more). I spoke to Jim Henderson before the event, he had thought about entering, but after suffering on the Rake a few weeks ago, decided against it and settled for cycling 88 miles out from his home to watch the suffering by the side of the road. Perhaps I will be joining him in a few years.  Last years champions R. Bussell and M.Sennema both finished 7th. Continue Reading →

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Video archive of hill climb

A Pathe News video of Kent’s 37th Annual Hill climb championship on Brasted Hill.

Love the braces, woolly jumpers and billowing shirts. Some chaps really look like they are going so slow they are about to fall off. That’s a proper hill climb. The crowds are amazing. I suppose people didn’t have tv to watch or computers to stare at in those days.

Brasted Hill, 667 yards long. (average gradient 1-7)

W Hussey won in a time in 1 min 54 2/5 secs.

98 started!

National hill climb tomorrow on Bank Road. I have a cold, but still hope to turn up and ride.


List of Mens national hill climb

List of Women winners

Catford CC hill climb

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Getting rid of traffic lights


One of my favourite spots for taking photos of cyclists in Oxford is on Broad Street, in particular this crossroads by the Bodleian library. The reason is that through traffic is prohibited so over 50% + of traffic are cyclists.


There are a few delivery lorries, so it’s not quite a cyclist paradise, but compared to your average inner city road it is quite peaceful.


It is interesting to just listen. Sometimes a few minutes can go by without any vehicular traffic, and you just hear the whir of bicycle wheels –   very civilised!


Previously the junction was controlled by traffic lights, though traffic lights felt a little over-bearing given the nature of the traffic on the road. Continue Reading →

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Burrington Combe hill climb 2016

The last weekend before the nationals is often Bristol South CC hill climb on Burrington Combe. 2.2 miles averaging 6%. A nice steady gradient, giving a different test to the shorter sharper climbs, like Bank Road. I’m not sure how long the event has been run for. I started riding in 2004, but I know it has been going for much longer.

113 riders were on the start sheet – another excellent turnout, showing once more the surprise rise in popularity of hill climbs in recent years. When I first rode in 2004, just 43 tested the time keeper.

In the past week, the weather has turned from late summer to autumnal. As we sat in the Burrington Combe cafe before hand, we could see a carpet of leaves falling. After a fashion, this could be south west England’s own “Race of the falling leaves”.

For those not doing the national HC, or moving onto the mud of cyclo-cross – this race is often the last of the season.


Despite doing well at Burrington Combe in recent years, I did consider dns, due to persistent injury. It is a bit tiresome, if for no other reason – it doesn’t make a great blog, when the primary purpose is giving updates on a slow moving injury. Anyway, I thought it’s only 2 miles so I can’t do too much harm.


I thought about using tribars, but took off at the last minute (partly because they were slipping off)

I had quite a short warm up – on arrival I preferred to spend 20 minutes in a cafe with some friends who had cycled out from Bristol. With not much time left, I just warmed up on rollers. I usually go for a cycle around nearby roads, but it was quite a cold morning so I kept to the rollers. Though by the time I got to the time keeper, just after 11am, it was starting to warm up a little. Continue Reading →

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A free ride into town

I was ambling along into town this morning, when two serious looking cyclists overtook me. I got on their wheel and enjoyed a faster commute into town than normal. Even at low speeds, you get a bit of benefit from sitting behind.


The two cyclists were joining up with a big group, meeting in centre of Oxford who were going for a long ride. Continue Reading →

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Otley CC hill climb 2016

Today was the Otley CC hill climb on Guise Edge and Norwood Edge. The mens winner was Dan Evans (Team Elite) with a new CR on Guise Edge. The women’s winner was Mary Wilkinson (Yorkshire RC)

The weather was pretty good for October, though a slight headwind on Norwood Edge made it a hard second leg.

My race

Before this morning, I was a little undecided about whether to race. I’ve ridden properly just once since last week, and have to admit it’s hard to keep up the same enthusiasm when training is hampered and there is pain before the start of a hill climb. But, I saw a physio on Thurs and he seemed to think it is OK to keep riding. Hopefully exercises will sort it out just in time for the dark months of winter training…


Pateley Bridge is at the bottom of 3-4 really excellent climbs.

Spread out over 22 years, it was my 11th Otley CC hill climb.


Photo Liam Rees

First up was Guise Edge just outside Pateley Bridge. I was optimistic I would be able to do OK on this climb. It’s only a short 3 minutes or so, and I’ve had a good track record in previous years. I rode up the steep bits quite well. I kept it in the same gear and didn’t lose any rhythm. Then in the middle it flattens out a little bit so you try and get up a bit of momentum for the last left hander. Once over this I had a look down at the computer. It said about 2.10, which I was quite surprised. It meant I would do a better time than expected. However, I regret looking at computer, I think it upset the intensity and focus of the previous 2 minutes. I looked a second time and I saw the 3sec power had fallen to 250 something. The kind of power you can do in a 100 mile TT. I think for a 3 minute climb, you really want to just ride on feel and not look at anything.

It was a long drag to the line – a bit further than I seem to remember. In the end I did a 3.23.1, which I was quite pleased with. Dan Evans set a new CR of 3.13. Kieran Savage (Team B38) a 3.17.

Interesting stat. There has been a new course record on Guise Edge for the past 7 consecutive years. I took four CR in a row, now Dan has taken two in a row. A lot of good riders have been up Guise Edge in the past six years including former champions Matt Clinton, Gunnar Gronlund and Jim Henderson. The lowering of record is indicative of the improving standards. Also, it was a good entry of 60 riders in todays event.

Norwood Edge


Norwood Edge – It always feels steeper than it looks when you ride it.

I used to do relatively better on the longer Norwood Edge climb, but I feared that a lack of training would be more noticeable on a longer climb, where aerobic fitness becomes more important. Also, if you’re not so well trained (or possibly advancing years) a second hill climb after a 3 hour gap is harder work. I never felt particularly good going up Norwood Edge, despite some enthusiastic cheering from spectators on the side of the road.  I did a time of 5.14, which was my slowest time on Norwood edge since 1993, when I rode a steel 501 Reynolds frame up Norwood Edge in 6.55 or something suitably slow.


Photo: Liam Rees

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2016 Walbury Hill climb


Walbury hill after race.

There was a record 132 entrants for the third running of the Newbury RC open event on Walbury hill. With a closed road for the event, it attracted a lot of juniors, which was good to see. There were also quite a few riders, who are not hill climb regulars – perhaps attracted by a good promotion, closed roads and a hill that is not too ridiculously steep.

The hill is 1883 m long  with a max gradient of 10%

The winner of mens event was Isaac Mundy (Oxford University CC). The women winner was Emma Grant (University of Bath Cycling Club

My event

My bike and old bike

My bike and old bike

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24 hours

After finishing the National 12 hour time trial championship this June I had two or three conflicting and, at the same time, complementary thoughts.

  • That was really painful – I’m not doing that again.
  • I really want to do a 24 hour time trial championship.

Whenever I do 100 mile time trials, I always think. I just about survived that, but there is no way I could have kept going for another hour, let alone eight. So I hope the same logic applies going from a 12 hour to 24 hour.

This year in the national 24 hour TT, Michael Broadwith of Arctic Tacx RT finished in first place with 537.35 miles – which is both inspiring and an intimidating distance. I think that is part of the attraction / challenge of long-distance racing. It’s a step into the unknown. You can prepare for 50 mile races, by cycling 50 miles or even further. But, you can’t prepare for a 24 hour time trial by doing a 537 mile training ride. Continue Reading →

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