Things I like about cycling #1. Conversations at the traffic lights

I was hoping to make, at least, one race this season – Burrington Combe hill climb promoted by Bristol South is often a favourite pre-national warm up. But, with no progress on the injury front, I mentally called a halt to the season.

In the past several weeks, I have been averaging one or two rides a week. A ride consists of 25 miles to Brill and back, with maybe one half-hearted interval up Brill Hill.

The one thing I’ve learnt from this season is that if you do one interval per week, you find that you get marginally slower and slower. It’s a bit demoralising; in fact, I was rather happy when my Garmin broke. It’s sometimes better to ride without a Garmin reminding you of the laws of nature. I might be able to mend the Garmin if I put my mind to it, but I have no inclination at the moment.


Social aspects of cycling catching up at the red lights

Yet a few days after mentally writing the season off, I was waiting at a traffic light in Oxford by Folly Bridge (with about a five-minute wait) when also patiently waiting in the advanced stop area was – non-other than Angus Fisk – the organiser of the upcoming Oxford University CC hill climb at Wytham Woods. The lights were so long; I managed to find out who won the recent Walbury Hill climb and also learn about a hill climb in a couple of weeks. It is not in the CTT handbook, so I wasn’t aware of it. But, it is an Open hill climb on a private road in Wytham woods (closing date Tues).

If you watch Inspector Morse et al., Wytham woods is a favourite scene for dead bodies to be buried. But not only does it make a good spot for a bit of murder mystery but apparently there is a fairly decent climb – 2.0 km or so at an average of 6% with a few steeper kicks and the odd speed hump thrown in for good measure.

It seemed such a fortuitous meeting that I couldn’t resist putting an entry in. An open hill climb in Oxford, organised by my old club Oxford University CC. I shall have to do, even if I ride up with one and a half legs.

Oxford University Hill Climb at CTT.


To celebrate this late surge of interest in racing, I went out for one of my weekly rides and promptly knackered my leg the worse it has been for 18 months. It’s the kind of pain where you don’t have to worry about whether you should try to ride through it or not. It’s put the bike in the attic time.

Still, I intend to try turn up for the Oxford hill climb, even if I do cycle up very slowly.

And don’t forget to stop at traffic lights, you never know who you’ll get to meet. You might even end up entering a hill climb.

2 thoughts on “Things I like about cycling #1. Conversations at the traffic lights”

  1. Hope to say hello at the OUHC Tejvan – it’s going to be my last race of the season… been looking at your site a lot lately having done a 12 hour earlier in the year, and then decided to build a fixed wheel hill climb bike I was taking some inspiration from your weight saving tips blog too!

  2. Sorry not to catch you at Burrington but I hope you enjoy the Wytham event. Haven’t ridden up it for years but a good road and enough to it to be worthwhile.


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