Burrington Combe 2020

Today was my 10th entry for the Bristol South CC promotion on Burrington Combe.


It’s always a hill climb I enjoy riding. A good long climb, nice scenery and, over the years, I have got to know quite a few riders and organisers from the Bristol scene. It also helps that the climb historically suited my riding style. The last eight times I have entered – going all the way back to 2005 – I came first. It was an unbeaten run that was more than overdue to be broken. Since I was last here in 2016, a lot has happened. And it’s not just me getting older.

I thought the conditions were quite good. 12 degrees, hardly any wind, maybe 1 mph headwind at the top, but not noticeable. My race went fairly well. I warmed up on the road, switched to the lighter racing wheels and went off to the start. I got into a good rhythm and I paced it reasonably well. I made quite a good effort, riding as hard as I could for 7+ minutes and making an extra effort at the steep bits. The only downside to the race was that my time was about 30 seconds slower than I would have liked. As a great French philosopher once said “That’s life, mate!”

My very first cycling blog was not cyclinginfo.co.uk, but an appendix to richardpettinger.com (so long ago I even had a different name). It was a pretty feeble first effort at writing about cycling. I mainly remember calling the blog “It’s all downhill from here” which, at the time, I thought was very amusing for a blog about cycling. I then moved to cyclinginfo.co.uk before settling on cyclinguphill.com. But, as I enter the more mature phase of life, perhaps the title “It’s all downhill from here” will prove increasingly apt.

On the start line for Burrington Combe 2005 (notice no bar tape)

Out of interest – this was the kind of blog I wrote from my 2005 event – Bristol South CC

In 2005, I remember spending hours getting the bike lighter, I think I ran a 44 single chainring, and all kinds of marginal gains. I was really proud at how light the bike was – something in the region of  6kg for a scandium Ribble frame. These days, taking off my bottle cage is my main concession to bike preparation. Though the Emonda is a pretty good starting point.

Interesting of note – in 2005, there were only three riders under 8 minutes; today there were nineteen. (though James Dobbin went on to win Nat HC in 2006/07). I imagine in 2005 there were very few juniors or women on the startsheet as they were a rare breed in that era. These days the hill climb scene is attracting a greater diversity of riders which is a very good thing, even if does mean us older folk see ourselves slipping down the standings.

The other blog of note from rp.com was a report from the 2005 National Hill Climb.

In the past few weeks, I have had a small dip in form. I have especially struggled (comparatively) on the longer climbs. I used to do better on the long climbs, but these days it is the other way around. I think part of the reason may be due to the fact I don’t train as much as I used to. On short climbs, you can get by on quite low mileage and a few efforts. For the longer climb, it seems to make a bigger difference how fit you are. It would be interesting to see what would happen if next year I tried training like I used to. But, I now realise that to do 10-15 hours of training is a really big commitment of time, energy and enthusiasm. Whether I will ever have that time or inclination to train, I doubt.

At the race, I saw a few people I hadn’t seen for quite a while. Including Nick Pashley who was the club captain during my days at Oxford University CC. I was club treasurer and Nick was a larger than life presence. He mainly rides cyclo-cross, but with that being cancelled for 2020 – he made a sideways jump (or should that be vertical) jump into the hill climb scene. He made a very creditable time for a first effort at hill climbs, and he’s definitely not a whippet like me.

Time: 7.31 – 369 watts

Previous results on Burrington Combe

  • 2004 – 7.12 – 2nd / 43 – winner D.Axford (7.02 CR)
  • 2005 – 7.061st / 61  – (2005 blog)
  • 2008 – 7.211st / 50
  • 2009 – 7.201st / 55
  • 2010 – 7.101st / 51 – (blog 2010)
  • 2011 – 6.511st  /48 – CR (blog 2011)
  • 2014 – 6.57 – 1st / 118blog 2014
  • 2015 – 6.58 – 1st / 110blog 2015
  • 2016 – 7.17 – 1st / 113 (386W) – blog 2016
  • 2020 – 7.31 – 8th / 113 (369 W)

Thanks to Bristol South CC for putting on the event in these testing times.

Of note


Photo by Paul Jones. I should add that I haven’t put on any weight – I had just stuffed a skinsuit up my cycle top.

Vale Street

On my way back from Burrington Combe, I made short detour to Vale Street, Bristol. I read about it in Simon Warren’s Another 100 Climbs. It claims to be the steepest residential street in Europe. It’s a bit of a gimmicky climb being very short. But, it is very steep and makes a good photo.

I run a 11-speed cassette (with one removed) on my old lightweight rear wheel (10 speed hub). When I went for the climb, I went down into lowest gear, only for chain to fall off, leaving me kind of stranded, horizontal to this super steep gradient. I was just stuck for a few seconds not knowing what to do or where to go. If someone had been watching, they might have found the predicament quite funny. Second time around, I chose gear more carefully. It’s a weird sensation, I could never let myself rip and try really hard as I feared I would fall off on the adverse camber. I should have tried the really hard way from the bottom of the hill, up the really steep left-hander section. But, my lowest gear was 39*23 and it wasn’t working very well  I felt I would not make it and probably fall over. So I gave it a miss. But, I did do it coming down the adjoining road and turning right.

So two hill climbs for the price of one. I’ve ticked it off my bucket list of climbs to do. It took me 21 seconds and went round the block three times.

Results Burrington Combe 2020

PositionFirst NameLast NameGenderCategoryClubPrecise Time
1CarlJollyMaleEspoirUniversity of Bristol Cycling Club (UOBCC)07:11.3
2ThomasArkellMaleEspoirEast London Velo07:13.0
3PhilStonelakeMaleVetBristol Road Club07:17.7
4JakeHollinsMaleSeniorBath Cycling Club07:23.8
5JacquesCoatesMaleEspoirTeam PB Performance07:28.4
6NicholasCandyMaleEspoirNorth Road CC07:28.6
7BenMillarMaleSeniorTeam Tor 2000 | KALAS07:30.5
8TejvanPettingerMaleVetSri Chinmoy Cycling Team07:31.3
9WillDuffyMaleEspoirBath Cycling Club07:31.8
10ArchieCrossMaleSeniorTeam Lifting Gear Products/Cycles In Motion07:32.6
11TomLoweMaleVetBorn to Bike – Bridgtown Cycles07:34.2
12NickLivermoreMaleSeniorBristol South Cycling Club07:35.9
13AndrewKirbyMaleSenior73 Degrees Bicycles, WestSide Coaching rt07:37.2
14TomWilliamsMaleJuniorWebbs 1902 CC07:39.2
15TedCrossMaleSeniorUniversity of Bristol Cycling Club (UOBCC)07:43.4
16CharlieLacailleMaleEspoirUniversity of Bristol Cycling Club (UOBCC)07:49.6
17JakeSargentMaleEspoirFTP (Fulfil The Potential) Racing07:58.3
18DanielEastmentMaleVet1st Chard Wheelers07:59.6
19ThomasHallMaleSeniorBristol South Cycling Club07:59.8
20JonathanHeathMaleSeniorNFTO CC08:00.4
20AndrewMetherellMaleVetSalt and Sham Cycle Club08:00.4
22GlyndwrGriffithsMaleVet73 Degrees Bicycles, WestSide Coaching rt08:02.8
23AdamWhiteheadMaleSeniorBristol South Cycling Club08:04.9
24JosephWrightMaleJuvenileTeam Zoyland08:05.0
25SteveThomasMaleVetBristol Road Club08:05.2
26JoeTaylorMaleSeniorMagspeed Racing08:08.3
27HarveyThomasMaleJuvenileBristol Road Club08:08.5
28CarlDysonMaleSeniorLeicester Forest CC08:08.7
29DanielPinkMaleSeniorGS Avanti08:12.6
31RobertFrancisMaleEspoirReflex Racing08:18.7
32LiamCahillMaleSeniorReflex Racing08:22.4
33ThomasSoutheyMaleSeniorBristol South Cycling Club08:23.4
34CharlesColemanMaleSeniorRogue Racing08:26.3
35JamieRichardson PaigeMaleSeniorMagspeed Racing08:27.9
36AnthonyClarkMaleSeniorFTP (Fulfil The Potential) Racing08:28.3
36NatalieGrinczerFemaleSeniorCAMS -Tifosi08:28.3
38MatthewSkeatsMaleSeniorUniversity of Bristol Cycling Club (UOBCC)08:30.1
38JoeNorledgeMaleSeniorBristol South Cycling Club08:30.1
40JundaNiuMaleEspoirUniversity of Bristol Cycling Club (UOBCC)08:37.5
43JonReillyMaleSeniorBristol South Cycling Club08:39.7
44RichardBennettMaleSeniorBristol South Cycling Club08:43.5
45SamWestlakeMaleSeniorPDQ Cycle Coaching08:43.8
46JackLukeMaleSeniorBristol South Cycling Club08:45.2
47JamesHarrisonMaleSeniorSodbury Cycle Sport08:46.0
48BenTurnerMaleVetWellington Wheelers Cycling Club08:47.3
49TavisWalkerMaleVetRogue Racing08:49.6
50GaryFouracresMaleVetMendip Cycling Club08:51.2
51ScottChalmersMaleSeniorMagspeed Racing08:51.4
52JonathanMarriottMaleEspoirUniversity of Bristol Cycling Club (UOBCC)08:51.6
53AshMilesMaleVetCC Giro08:52.9
54TomTaylorMaleJuvenileAvid Sport08:56.0
55JonJamesMaleVetMendip Cycling Club08:57.8
56KateMacTearFemaleSeniorBristol South Cycling Club08:58.2
57ChristopherBrittenMaleVetSodbury Cycle Sport09:00.9
58LukeBrowneMaleSeniorBS10 Cycling Club09:07.4
59JonWigginsMaleSeniorPDQ Cycle Coaching09:07.5
60EdwardTrenchardMaleVetBristol South Cycling Club09:12.2
61EdwardArnoldMaleSeniorStroud Valley Velos09:13.0
62FelixSmithMaleSeniorBristol South Cycling Club09:13.1
63ClareGoodFemaleSeniorPDQ Cycle Coaching09:14.6
64ChristineWellingtonFemaleVetBirmingham Running, Athletics and Triathlon Club09:15.6
65CharlotteDaviesFemaleSeniorFTP (Fulfil The Potential) Racing09:16.7
66PaulJonesMaleVetBristol South Cycling Club09:18.7
67TommyBarlowMaleVetClevedon & District Road Club09:19.3
68DavidEnglishMaleVetChippenham & District Wheelers09:20.8
69NickPashleyMaleVetBristol CX09:24.2
70MarcAllenMaleVetSwindon Road Club09:26.7
71TomaszOsinskiMaleSeniorBS10 Cycling Club09:29.5
72LeoGuilfoyleMaleJuniorClevedon & District Road Club09:30.2
73StevenCottingtonMaleVetBath Cycling Club09:33.3
74LeonGieratMaleVetBristol CX09:36.6
75DanielAndresMaleSeniorFTP (Fulfil The Potential) Racing09:40.1
76Emily KateWaltonFemaleSeniorBeeston Cycling Club09:41.4
77BenLoxtonMaleEspoirUniversity of Bath Cycling Club09:43.5
78NaomiEatonFemaleSeniorStroud Valley Velos09:44.4
79CharlieBirdMaleSeniorRogue Racing09:45.8
80LouisWrightMaleJuvenileTeam Zoyland09:49.3
81EdwardMorrisMaleVetOkehampton CC09:55.3
82EvanGriffithsMaleSeniorNorth Essex Velo09:55.5
83AlanGreenMaleVetMagspeed Racing09:59.0
84RichardBurtMaleVetSolihull CC10:15.0
85OliverStrotherMaleVetBristol Road Club10:15.3
86ChrisMcDonaldMaleTanPDQ Cycle Coaching10:24.1
87JimDykeMaleVetBristol South Cycling Club10:38.2
88BeckyDoddsFemaleSeniorRogue Racing10:39.8
89HaydnDaviesMaleVetGiant CC Halo Films10:45.4
90RichardEmeryMaleVetSevern Road Club10:59.5
91PauliMarkkanenMaleVetBristol South Cycling Club11:10.8
92GordonScottMaleVetCC Weymouth11:28.4
93SaraJamesFemaleVetClevedon & District Road Club12:22.3
94HelenGrayFemaleVetRogue Racing12:34.1
95JoannaKnightFemaleVetBristol South Cycling Club12:42.2
96RachelProfitFemaleVetClevedon & District Road Club14:48.5
97BobSymonsMaleVetPDQ Cycle Coaching15:30.6

CTT Results


1 Natalie Grinczer Female Senior CAMS -Tifosi 08:28.3
2 Nicole Coates Female Espoir Torelli 08:38.5
3 Kate MacTear Female Senior Bristol South Cycling Club 08:58.2
4 Clare Good Female Senior PDQ Cycle Coaching 09:14.6
5 Christine Wellington Female Vet Birmingham Running, Athletics and Triathlon Club 09:15.6
6 Charlotte Davies Female Senior FTP (Fulfil The Potential) Racing 09:16.7
7 Emily Kate Walton Female Senior Beeston Cycling Club 09:41.4
8 Naomi Eaton Female Senior Stroud Valley Velos 09:44.4
9 Becky Dodds Female Senior Rogue Racing 10:39.8
10 Sara James Female Vet Clevedon & District Road Club 12:22.3
11 Helen Gray Female Vet Rogue Racing 12:34.1
12 Joanna Knight Female Vet Bristol South Cycling Club 12:42.2
13 Rachel Profit Female Vet Clevedon & District Road Club 14:48.5


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