Pea Royd Lane

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.

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Practice run August 2014

I was driving up north this weekend, so I took the short detour off the M1 to revisit Stocksbridge and have a go at Pea Royd Lane, which I haven’t done since 2009. The weather was warm with a cross wind. It felt like a headwind at the start, but tailwind in the middle. The last section I couldn’t work out. That’s the nature of the course, the wind can be all over the place.

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Great view from the top

The over-riding impression of the climb was it’s steep and also a painful reminder of how hard hill climbs are. I’ve been looking for a similar hill in Oxfordshire, but there is nothing which gets the same height gain, in such as short space of time – though Whiteleaf hill and Chinnor Hill come close.

After a warm up, I gave it a good effort –  to try and get a rough idea of what time I can do after a summer of 50 and 100 mile time trials.  I’ve gone deeper in the hill climb season proper. But, it was plenty hard enough. I’m sure there was a lurking thought somewhere in my mind ‘Why do I do hill climbs again?’

It’s a hard hill climb because the gradient is always changing. The road surface is also quite rough. There was plenty of loose gravel, chippings and patched up road surface. I hear it is going to be resurfaced soon!

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Half way up, there’s a slight easing of gradient over the road bridge before the rest of the climb looms into view.

I took lots of photos of the climb (see bottom of post). It’s quite a mix of scenic Yorkshire views, with some ageing steel plants and electricity pylons thrown in. Still it’s a good view from 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 – 3.17.8) – Women (Anna Fischer – 4.55) – (as far as I know)
  • Strava segment – Nat HC

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. It is 20% around the corner. You go over a road bridge where there is a short period of more gradual gradient, before another steep section as you go around a left turn. From here there  is 400 yards to the finish the gradient eases slightly on the last section (called Don Hill Height). It feels like there are three parts to the climb

  1. First 500 yards on Hunshelf road – not too steep
  2. Second turn right onto Pea Royd Lane – up to 20% on this road
  3. Steep left turn on to final section of Don Hill Height.

 

Pea Royd Lane vs other hill climbs

With a course record of 3.17.8  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 who excels on a short sprint like the Rake, may 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.

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. These days, fixed is getting quite rare amongst the top riders. It will be interesting to see if anyone rides fixed in 2014. I will definitely be riding gears, if only because I don’t own a fixed.

2009 National Championship

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David Clarke (left) Dan Fleeman (Cervelo) winner on right

 

I had a pretty quiet year in 2009, I did little racing and my two time trial times were relatively slow. I didn’t expect too much from the national championships and I finished 12th.

pea-royd-lane

Photo  by Techno  2009- Pea Royd Lane last left hand turn. I think that was a Ribble aluminium / scandium frame with Continental Competition tyres on. Nice hair cut though.

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. (For example, compare to Chris Boardman’s advice for doing hill climbs) The previous week, I think D. Fleeman finished in the top 20 Tour of Lombardy, then 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 differently.

As Fleeman said:

“I didn’t know anything about the climb beforehand,” said Fleeman. “I had only seen a clip of the climb on YouTube. Before the start I was going to pace it evenly, but at the line I shot off like a mad man, and at the end I felt like I was dying.”
“I was going to work on 600 watts average and hold it the whole way,” Fleeman said. “Then at the start a few people told me not to bother. Anyway, off I go. I had about 700 watts for the first bit and then at the end I almost came to a standstill and dropped to about 550 watts and I didn’t think I’d done that well. Read more at Cycling Weekly
Results from 2009
1  Dan Fleeman Cervelo Test Team 03:17.8
2   Matt Clinton MikeVaughan.co.uk 03:31
3   Jim Henderson Southport CC 03:39
4   Michael Smith Team Milton Keynes 03:39
5  Adam Pinder Blackburn & District CTC 03:43
6  David Clarke Pendragon Kalas RT 03:43
7  David Griffiths Paramount CRT 03:44
8  Charles Taylor South Pennine RC 03:46
9  Robert Gough Chippenham & District Wheelers 03:47
10  Mike Cuming Raleigh Avanti 03:47
11  Chris Myhill Peak RC 03:48
12  Tejvan Pettinger Sri Chinmoy Cycling Team 03:49
Women
  1. Anna Fischer (Maxgear RT) 4.55
  2. Lynn Hamel Team NCA 4.56

Video of 2009 National Championships

Photos of Pea Royd Lane

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This is the start area. I wasn’t exactly sure of start. But, video gives rough idea.

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Start areapear-royd-lane-3

The view from the start. If you like rusty corrugated iron, this will be a good place to watch.

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Looking back down Hunshelf Road.

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Near the end of Hunshelf Road before right hand turn.

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Turn right onto Pea Royd Lane. You want to avoid taking the shortest line – it’s steep on the apex.

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Looking back towards Stocksbridge.

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Before the last left hand turn – the road surface was a bit rough around here.

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The weather won’t be 30 degrees in late October.

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The last section to the finish line.

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The finish is further up. at the top right of the pic.

finish

I forgot to take a photo finish. So I got this from the youtube video. There was actually a fading yellow line by this telegraph pole, which I assumed was the finish line.

Related


10 Responses to Pea Royd Lane

  1. Will Corden November 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    Tejvan,

    Out of interest, will you be getting a National Champs skinsuit made up to wear in 2014 Hillclimbs? I remember Matt Clinton having a very cool Mike Vaughan Cycles Nat Champs jersey he raced in in 2009.

  2. tejvan November 1, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

    I hope to. I’ve been asking different clothing companies

  3. Bhima Bowden November 1, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

    Yeah, I think I heard that Dan held somewhere around 10-13 w/kg for the climb. That’s basically my best 20-40 second power right now, so I wasn’t very happy when I heard the news about next year’s venue.

    Got to stay positive though – guys like us have a whole year to get training for those shorter efforts. The good thing about them is that it’s really hard to pace them badly and you’re almost guaranteed to completely empty the tank on a climb like that, with no regrets later on about going too easy.

  4. Hunshelf Harry November 14, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

    Slight typo “Don Hill Heigh” should read “Don Hill Height”.

  5. maryka August 9, 2014 at 9:22 pm #

    Regarding a national champs skinsuit, try Joe at http://www.akumacycling.com/ and say I sent you — he might be able to work something out for you! (My club are making me a skinsuit and jersey to wear, by a different manufacturer though).

    I’ve decided on Chalkpit Lane as my practise climb for Pea Royd, seems to be quite similar though possibly not quite steep enough? Maybe next time you’re down in Surrey/Kent you can ride it and let me know! In any case I don’t think I’ll find anything better around here so it’ll have to do.

    http://www.strava.com/segments/645908

    • tejvan August 10, 2014 at 12:10 pm #

      Thanks Maryka, I got one from impsport.

  6. Simon E August 12, 2014 at 12:11 pm #

    The link to the report of the 2009 National H/C seems to have got mangled. Here is the link:
    http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest-news/fleeman-wins-national-hill-climb-65372

    Bhima – don’t worry about the numbers, just give of your best.

    Very best wishes and a chapeau to all entrants. One day I will get to watch at the National but in the meantime I will look forward to reading blogs, reports and maybe seeing a video or two afterwards.

    • tejvan August 13, 2014 at 8:02 am #

      cheers SImon, I updated link

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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