Pea Royd Lane has been the venue for the national hill climb championships in 2009 and will be the venue in 2014.
It is a classic hill climb length- relatively short and steep with a few sharp corners to make it really testing. The gradient is variable from fairly shallow at the bottom to a gradient of up to 20% near the top.
National hill climb course
- Distance – 0.7 miles (1.1 km) approx.
- Average gradient – 11.5%
- Height gain – 129 metres (approx.)
- Max gradient: 20%
- Course record men (Dan Fleeman – 3.17) – Women (Anna Fischer – 4.55) – (as far as I know)
The open event, promoted by Stocksbridge CC, uses a shorter 700 yard climb. The National championship in 2009 added an extra 500 yards (0.4 km) This first section (Hunshelf road) is a shallower gradient, perhaps 8%. At the end of Hunshelf road, there is a sharp right hander taking you onto Pea Royd Lane. It is here that the gradient really picks up. You go over a road bridge and the slopes are consistently close to 20%. 400 yards from finish you take another sharp left hander before the gradient eases slightly on the last section (called Don Hill Height) towards the last 0.3 km to the finish.
Thoughts on the Climb
Driving down the M1 from Yorkshire on Tuesday, I was half tempted to stop off in Stocksbridge and make my first effort at the hill since 2009. Fortunately, I thought better of it, some voice in the heading saying “For God’s sake, you can take a break now”
It feels too early to be thinking about next season, but I will definitely be trying to defend the nationals jersey. It will be the primary target for 2014, though I hope to do a few other fun things during the long summer wait for hill climb season to start (like perhaps a 12 hour time trial)
With a course record of 3.17 Pea Royd Lane is not quite my forte, I would do better on a longer hill, but, it is just a bit longer than the real short anaerobic hill climbs like the Rake. It gives me an outside chance. It’s kind of somewhere in the middle between the Rake (2012) and the Stang (2013). I would prefer something slightly longer, a climber like Jack Pullar would probably prefer something slightly shorter. It makes it an intriguing contest. Depending on form, fitness and many other factors, the podium placings could come from quite a long list of names. The average age of the top 20 at the Stang was 26. If you take out me (36) and Pete Tadros (44), the average age would even be lower. When you’re in your teen years and early 20s, I guess it must be much easier to make big strides in form than when you’re getting close to the wrong side of 40! But, I don’t think about age or see it as a barrier at all.
The standard of hill climbs seems to get higher every year, though I have to admit I’m glad I won’t be racing against Dan Fleeman in top form!
Fixed vs Gears
It’s one of those hills where quite a few riders will be tossing up between riding fixed and gears. Matt Clinton rode fixed in 2009 (42*21) but with swirling winds and rain was not convinced it was the best choice. My heart wants to buy and ride a fixed, but my head says play safe and ride gears (with outer chainring removed)
2009 National Championship
I had a pretty quiet year in 2009, I did little racing and my time trial times were relatively slow. I didn’t expect too much from national championships and I finished 12th. I was at the top when Dan Fleeman finished. He was going really slowly because he had absolutely hammered it on the lower slopes. In an interview at Cycling Weekly, Fleeman said he rode 700 watts from the bottom. He kind of broke all the rules for doing hill climbs. The previous week, I think he finished in the top 20 Tour of Lombardy, sat on the sofa for a week, nearly missed his start, did no practise runs and only an 8 minute warm up. But, sometimes, the no-mind, spontaneous approach can pay off. I wonder what time he might have done if he had paced it properly.
As Fleeman said:
Video of 2009 National Championships