OUCC hill climb – Wytham Woods

Today was the Oxford University CC hill climb. It was on a private road from the attractive village of Wytham up through the woods used by Oxford University research teams. I wanted to do the race because it is probably the only climb in Oxfordshire I haven’t ever done – it is usually closed to the public. It had a lovely smooth tarmac which felt great to ride on.


The climb does not rank in the epic category but makes a reasonable four-minute effort. The steepest section is at the bottom, just after the start and then there are several false flats with slight rises every now and then. It means you have to go pretty hard from the off and try and maintain your speed in the last half of the climb. You can’t really get into a rhythm as the gradient is never constant; it was an interesting climb to do. Probably perfect for my current shape.


I only entered the event on an impulse after bumping into an OUCC rider at some traffic lights in Oxford. After putting the entry form in, I regretted it almost immediately. In the end, it was kind of worth it, but it felt a bit weird not only to be doing a hill climb but to be even riding a proper road bike. Sometimes when cyclists say ‘they haven’t done any training’ you have to treat it with a pinch of salt. But, in my case, it’s a pretty fair assessment. I was in bad shape three weeks ago, but since then haven’t touched the road bike at all. I’ve spent a year trying to ride through a minor injury but now have given up until it is better. There’s only so much motivation you can muster to ride through aches and pains.


It was strange to enter a hill climb when the primary motivation was to catch up with some fellow cyclists. My warm-up consisted of cycling from home to Wytham. I never imagined I’d be able to ride to an open hill climb by riding up the A34. At least it is a nice change from driving to the other end of the country. There was no thought of the traditional hill climb weight weenie efforts, I rode with my training wheels (though one of my training wheels is a Zipp 202 so not exactly a handicap). I did make the effort to remove my saddle bag – you have to keep up appearances. Though I couldn’t be bothered to shave my legs so I rode in leg-warmers. I thought that overall – leg warmers are less offensive than hairy legs and lycra.

My warm-up consisted of going to the toilet a few times and standing by a radiator. I did a few random circles around the village just to finish it off. It’s a really nice village Wytham – very little thru’ traffic just a lot of dead-ends and private roads.

At the start, I vagued out and at 10 seconds to go was almost dozing off during the countdown. But, when I came to attention, the race was OK; I did a pretty good effort, and probably paced the effort as well as I could. I hadn’t been as hard since probably last year in Nat HC 2016. It was good to get the old buzz of racing back.

Richard Gildea (Didcot CC) won in a very good time of 3.39 (or something) I was half a minute back in 4.09 – respectable enough, but well off the podium. Richard may be an outside flutter for the podium in next weeks national hill climb. One of top southern hill climbers this year. 1st lady was Anabell Orenz (North Cotswold CC)


I’m not sure if this will prove to be a come-back ride or a final slinking off into the sunset. I hope the former, but at the moment, racing at top-form seems like a real mountain to climb. This year I have missed the hill climb season quite a lot.

Big thanks to Oxford University CC for organising the event. It was a good promotion and a great find to be able to use this private road. Over 60 riders entered – many of them from local clubs – which I feel is a pretty good turnout for an open hill climb.


Pos      Name   Team   Time

  • 1          Richard Gildea            Didcot Phoenix CC    Male    3:38
  • 2          Greg Fitzek     Cowley Road Condors CC     Male    3:42
  • 3          David Ross     LFGSS CC     Male    3:46
  • 4          John Mulvey   Cambridge University CC      Male    3:59
  • 5          Angus Fisk      Oxford University CC            Male    4:01
  • 6          John Hunt       Beacon Roads CC      Male    4:02
  • 7          Tejvan Pettinger          Sri Chinmoy Cycling Team     Male    4:05
  • 8          James King      Oxford University CC            Male    4:06
  • 9          David Pearson Oxford University CC            Male    4:06
  • 10        James Haworth           Univ of Warwick Tri & Road CC      Male    4:06
  • 11        Matt Kerin      Oxford University CC            Male    4:09
  • 12        Joe Baker        Bolsover and District CC       Male    4:11
  • 13        Vincenzo Pratley         Oxford University CC            Male    4:15
  • 14        Nathan Woodhouse    Leighton Buzzard Road Cycling Club           Male    4:16
  • 15        Matthew Grey Spokes BPC Racing    Male    4:16
  • 16        Oliver Withers Reading CC    Male    4:17
  • 17        Peter Fry         Cowley Road Condors CC     Male    4:19
  • 18        Eddie Rolls     Oxford University CC            Male    4:20
  • 19        Oliver Bent     Oxford University CC            Male    4:21
  • 20        James Scrivener           Reading CC    Male    4:21
  • 21        Matthew Peters           Oxford University CC            Male    4:21
  • 22        Nic Stevenson Westerley Cycling Club          Male    4:21
  • 23        Simon Hunt     Farnborough & Camberley CC           Male    4:22
  • 24        Bryn Davies    Oxford University CC            Male    4:26
  • 25        Alex Byrne-Smith       LFGSS CC     Male    4:30
  • 26        James Beechey            Baines Racing Silverstone Cycle        Male    4:30
  • 27        Jack Brent       Oxford University CC            Male    4:30
  • 28        Andrew Pollard          Cowley Road Condors CC     Male    4:31
  • 29        Jonathan Groves         Rapha Cycling Club    Male    4:32
  • 30        Joe Morrow     Oxford University CC            Male    4:32
  • 31        Peter Cowan   Didcot Phoenix CC    Male    4:35
  • 32        Jon Cox           Oxford University CC            Male    4:36
  • 33        Joshua Long    Oxford University CC            Male    4:37
  • 34        Simon Abram  Oxford University CC            Male    4:38
  • 35        Dan Neal         Aylesbury CC Male    4:40
  • 36        Jack Pinchin     A5 Rangers CC           Male    4:40
  • 37        Matthew Ridley          Oxford University CC            Male    4:41
  • 38        Tianyou Xu     Oxford University CC            Male    4:41
  • 39        Simon Bromfield        Charlotteville Cycling Club    Male    4:43
  • 40        Jack Smith       Brighton Mitre CC      Male    4:44
  • 41        Anabell Orenz North Cotswold CC   Female 4:45
  • 42        Valentin Sulzer           Oxford University CC            Male    4:50
  • 43        Tamara Davenne         Oxford University CC            Female 4:56
  • 44        Mark Shepherd           Banjo Cycles.com/Raceware/Specialized       Male    4:57
  • 45        David McCann           Beacon Roads CC      Male    4:59
  • 46        Robert McCraith         Oxford University CC            Male    5:06
  • 47        Aimee Lane     Wyre Forest Cycle Racing Club         Female 5:19
  • 48        Michael Kaye  100% ME        Male    5:21
  • 49        James Schofield          Maybush Cycle Club  Male    5:31
  • 50        Justin Strauss  Oxford University CC            Male    5:32
  • 51        Dan Batute      Newbury RC   Male    5:33
  • 52        Hermione Harrison      Oxford University CC            Female 5:36
  • 53        Alice Gatland  Tuff Fitty Tri Club      Female 5:48

Other photos

12 thoughts on “OUCC hill climb – Wytham Woods”

  1. Great to meet you today Tejvan. It was nice to have a local celebrity racing!

    I hope this race is the former and you come back to the fold next season. Having raced more this season than ever I’ve really enjoyed it. I hope you can find your mojo and get over your injury niggles.

  2. Well done today. Keep it going. It was my first ever win and it wouldn’t have happened without the inspiration and input of a few people over my first year of cycling. One of them was that guy who got the KOM up the biggest beast in my area (Bushcombe).
    Thanks for this blog and all the advice in it. Really helped.

  3. Hi Tejvan, great race report. It’s a shame you’ve got been able to hill climb much this season, it’s not quite the same looking at results and not seeing your name at the sharp end! I’m in a similar position ( admittedly a much slower position than you!), I’ve have had numerous niggles with back problems this year so I’ve not hill climbed at all. Hopefully next year I’ll be back and hopefully so will you, be great if you could enter the national next year as my club is organising it on the historic motor racing hill climb course at Shelsley Walsh. It’s the oldest Motorsport venue still in use today.

  4. Dont be too hard on yourself, after 3 weeks off the bike and very little other training I would say that its a respectable time….and you’ve done a race. Now you can assess your body to see how it coped. Good luck for next year. Like the others have said thanks for the blog.

  5. Great to read this. I chose to sit back this year after a long road season, but your mention of dozing off is something which resonates and thinking of the mental process in last ~10s makes me look forward to doing some again.

    Muscle memory is a wonderful thing – that time is fantastic for the amount of riding it sounds like you’ve been able (or unable) to do this year.

    And yes Richard is going extremely well this season, I am hoping he can pull a top 5 at least on Sunday.

  6. I really enjoyed this event,the early morning chill of Autumn was tempered by bright sunshine and beautiful village scene.A super dry road surface and a reasonably long climb peaking at around 15% made for a climb of momentum and fluid consistency.Thanks to OUCC and all the volunteers who made this event possible,best clubhouse cake I’ve had for ages,nice touch with the blue icing.An added bonus for me coming from from Guildford was taking a short detour on the return off the M40 and putting in a reasonable first time effort on KOP Hill Princes Risborough, it’s a really good exposed climb and one I would highly recommend.

  7. Cycling in Oxford University has clearly moved on (and upwards), but those of us who were up 60-odd years ago are still pedalling. A group of us from that vintage meet each summer to recall our exploits and try to give each other heart failure by a burn up to the prime.
    There is a Oxford group (the Quondams) and a Cambridge Group (the Cuccolds) who welcome members of the other group to their re-unions. The Cuccolds are meeting in Buriton near Petersfield 19-21 May and the Quondams are meeting in Maryport from 8-10 June <brooks.lancs@gmail.com
    Why not come and show us what we used to be like?
    I bet your best 25 mile time is under the hour. Mine was 1.04. Oh dear!
    Roger Cline
    Queen's 1958-61


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