Beeley Moor is a good 2.3 mile climb up from the village of Beeley to the top of the moors, near Chesterfield. It was the first time I had entered the Chesterfield Couriers event, despite it being the type of hill that generally suits me.
The problem with this time of the year is that there is a feast of great hill climbs, squashed into a small October window. It is always a difficult choice between doing climbs like Burrington Combe Down in Bristol or heading north for climbs like Cragg Vale and Beeley Moor. I’ve never even got around to riding the double header at Matlock, which is on the same weekend. I did once ride Bank road in the 2008 National championships, but Riber is more up my street, 3 minutes of very steep gradient and twisty hairpins. I have to tick it off the list sometime, but, unfortunately not this year.
Some riders deal with this dilemma just by riding several hill climbs on the same day. Nicola Soden and Matt Clinton rushed off after the event to ride Bank road. And I believe Dave Archer of the Bolsover & District CC managed to do all 3 hills climbs in the space of about 4 hours; that’s impressive devotion to the cause of hill climbing. But, as much as I love hill climbs, you can have too much of a good thing. There is a vague idea of tapering around this time of the season. After the race, I certainly wasn’t going to go for a 50 mile warm down ride, which I might get away with earlier in September.
Beeley Moor seemed a good choice because it’s quite similar in length to the national next week. There was also a very good prize list helped by several generous sponsors. It’s been a good hill climb season, with entries generally on the up. I think 70 entries for Chesterfield Couriers was the highest for quite a while.
- Length: 2.3 miles
- Average gradient: 6%
- Max gradient: 10%
- elevation gain: 722 ft
Whilst Beeley Moor may be similar in length to the Stang, it’s quite a different proposition. Whilst the Stang is all over the place, with steep gradients and downhill sections. Beeley Moor is much more of a steady gradient. Slightly steeper at the bottom, it only gentle levels off towards the top. I guess, you could easily do it with a fixed gear. But, I didn’t see many around. I arrived at the top of the hill, with enough time to descend and get one practise run in before the first starters got under way. It’s a pretty steady 6% most of the way up. If you have to go up a hill 6% is about as popular gradient as it gets for most cyclists.
After getting a feel for the hill, I then warmed up on my rollers at the top of the hill. From the vantage point of my rollers, I was able to watch the early starters make their last desperate efforts across the finish line, cheered on by a growing collection of spectators. It was quite an entertaining way to warm up. Beats looking at a wall in a car park.
The only problem with warming up at the top, is that you have to descend and hope you don’t puncture on the way. At the bottom, I deposited lots of clothes and got ready to go. I set off pretty hard, hoping to get into a good rhythm early on. It felt good, and I knew I was on a good ride. Chesterfield CC left out plenty of signs and a helpful 1km to go and later 200 meters to go. This is an excellent idea for a hill climb; I have done a few in the past, where I was not entirely sure where the finish was. The last 1km is flatter, though a stiff crosswind took the edge off the final speed. I finished in a time of 8.35, which was good enough for first place. Matt Clinton was 2nd with 8.51. And 3rd was fellow Mikevaughan.co.uk rider, Jack O’Neill 09:44 (Jack is still a junior, and definitely one to watch out for in the future).
The ever reliable Buxton CC won the team event. The women’s section was hotly contested with Lou Collins (Beeston RC) edging out Nicola Soden and former winner Alex Deck RST Racing Team. Fastest Vet was Simon Warren fresh from riding 100 of the greatest Tour de France climbs that’s summer. – That’s another real devotion to hill climbing. Look forward to reading the book.
8.35 was the 2nd quickest time on Beeley Moor. Only beaten by Gunnar Gronlund’s course record of 8.23 a week before he won the 2011 national title, perhaps there’s a favourable omen in there somewhere. People said conditions were more favourable in 2011 with a strong tailwind, so it was a good time for 2013. Martin Smith Opticians of Lincoln put up £100 on offer for breaking the course record. It was a close shave.
I received a good prize for first place, and a pair of Rudy Project glasses.
Thanks to Chris Myhill and the Chesterfield team for putting on a good event. Next year is the 20th edition of the hill climb, and it will be tempting to come back and try and see if course record can be within reach.
Thanks to local sponsors Polaris, JE James Cycles, Décor Improvements, Columbian Caravans and Igloo Cycles
Results 2013 hill climb
|Mr||Tejvan Pettinger||Sri Chinmoy Cycling Team||S||36||08:34.0|
|Mr||Matt Clinton||Mike Vaughan Cycles||S||28||08:51.8|
|Mr||Jack O’Neill||Mike Vaughan Cycles||J||18||09:44.7|
|Mr||Ashley Proctor||Sheffrec CC||S||19||09:50.1|
|Mr||Patrick Smart||Matlock CC||J||17||09:52.0|
|Mr||Chris Baines||Buxton CC/Sett Valley Cycles||S||20||09:55.9|
|Mr||Dave Archer||Bolsover & District CC||S||31||09:56.5|
|Mr||Sam Clark||Buxton CC/Sett Valley Cycles||S||33||10:15.8|
|Mr||Simon Warren||Norwood Paragon CC||V||40||10:16.0|
|Mr||Stephen Price||Derby Mercury RC||S||32||10:21.9|
|Mr||Andy Nichols||Neon Velo||S||23||10:24.0|
|Mr||Stewart Gregory||Nottingham Clarion CC||V||48||10:28.3|
|Mr||Stephen Heading||Matlock CC||V||45||10:41.3|
|Mr||Alain Gordon-Seymar||Rutland CC||S||38||10:46.4|
|Mr||Neil Bentley||Sheffrec CC||V||44||10:57.8|
|Mr||Rupert Pearson||Rutland CC||V||40||10:59.0|
|Mr||Danny Featherstone||Bolsover & District CC||S||25||11:01.5|
|Mr||Martin Smith||Chesterfield Coureurs CC||S||33||11:05.4|
|Mr||Daniel Kubon||Birdwell Whs||S||29||11:06.7|
|Mr||Stuart Baker||Buxton CC/Sett Valley Cycles||S||23||11:09.3|
|Mr||Sam Mansfield||Buxton CC/Sett Valley Cycles||J||18||11:34.7|
|Mr||Dominic Watts||Sheffield Sports CC||V||44||11:34.7|
|Miss||Lou Collins||Beeston RC||L||32||11:34.8|
|Mr||Matt Williams||Fusion CC Dronfield||V||43||11:36.6|
|Mr||Stewart Bates||TFN Triathlon Club||S||37||11:40.8|
|Mr||Eamonn Cox||Sheffield Sports CC||V+||50||11:42.1|
|Mr||Martin Rigby||Mansfield Road Club||V||41||11:50.5|
|Mr||Mark Plowright||Beeston RC||V||42||11:51.0|
|Mr||Daniel Gee||Ashfield RC||S||38||11:51.1|
|Mr||Sam Smith||Sheffield Sports CC||Juv||15||11:52.1|
|Mr||Aiden Brown||Mapperley CC||S||23||11:55.8|
|Miss||Nicola Soden||Champion System -Maxgear RT||L||26||11:59.3|
|Mr||Shue Fan||Clay Cross RT||S||32||11:59.6|
|Mr||Jonathan Baines||Buxton CC/Sett Valley Cycles||S||22||12:01.1|
|Mr||Andrew Cutts||Birdwell Wheelers||S||19||12:03.4|
|Miss||Alex Deck||RST Racing Team||LV||46||12:08.9|
|Mr||Sidney Wilson||Derby Mercury||J||16||12:10.1|
|Mr||Richard Bramhall||Fusion CC Dronfield||S||36||12:16.5|
|Mr||Kevin Smith||Mapperley CC||V||49||12:21.3|
|Mr||Simon Baines||Buxton CC/Sett Valley Cycles||V+||53||12:58.1|
|Mr||Simon Foster||Chesterfield Coureurs CC||V||42||13:02.9|
|Mr||Nicholas Burton||Newark Castle C C||S||38||13:03.8|
|Mr||Barry Parker||RVO Racing||S||35||13:25.1|
|Mr||Paul Heggie||Birdwell Whs||V+||60||13:31.2|
|Mrs||Nicola Holloway||Whirlow Whs||L||29||13:32.9|
|Mr||David Percival||Team Swift||S||37||13:43.1|
|Mrs||Verity Butler||Sherwood CC||LV||41||13:54.8|
|Mr||Ken Roberts||Garstang CC||V+||64||14:08.2|
|Ms||Karen Brooks||Lincoln Wheelers CC||LV||54||14:08.8|
|Mr||Josh Eaton||Matlock CC||S||19||16:06.1|
|Mrs||Megan Cook||Chesterfield Coureurs CC||LV||43||21:44.8|
|Mr||Carl Sawyer||Kiveton Park CC||V||46||DNF|
|Miss||Melanie Armstrong||Shutt Velo Rapide||L||31||DNS|
|Mr||Mike Birkby||Rutland CC||S||37||DNS|
|Mr||Martin Ford||Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes.com||S||39||DNS|
|Mr||Jamie Raven||Rutland CC||S||21||DNS|
|Mr||Dan Ogden||Shutt Velo Rapide||S||39||DNS|
|Mr||Michael Wilkinson||North Notts Olympic RC||V+||54||DNS|
|Mr||Mike Adams||Mapperley CC||V||44||DNS (A)|
|Mr||Robert Ricketts||University of Sheffield CC||S||22||DNS (A)|
|Mr||Joseph Drane||University of Sheffield CC||S||20||DNS (A)|
|Mr||Daniel Chaib||Sharrow CC||J||16||DNS (A)|
|Mrs||Karen Ledger||www.zepnat.com RT||LV||41||DNS (A)|
|Mr||Xavier Scott||Bolsover & District CC||S||27||DNS (A)|
|Mrs||Jane Shields||Fusion CC Dronfield||LV||53||DNS (A)|
|Mr||Chris Ledger||www.zepnat.com RT||V+||51||DNS (A)|
|Mr||Nick Decker||Congleton CC||S||31||DNS (A)|
|Mr||Andrew Hicklin||Fusion CC Dronfield||V||47||DNS (A)|
|Mr||Oliver Humphreys||Shutt Velo Rapide||S||36||DNS (A)|
|Mr||Paul Armstrong||Sheffrec CC||S||28||DNS (A)|
- see also Chris’ race report at Velo UK