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Zone 6: the hill climb thread

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  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,276
    Right, so... I have finally sorted my Hill Climb season, which will start on September the 5th with a non qualifying event... let's see if I get accepted on all the Open events afterwards, Bec is probably the least likely

    Sept 5th: Banbury Star Hill Climb KH5, club event (B)
    Sept 19: Solihull CC Open double Saintburys + Dover's
    Sept 27: Watford Velo Open at Whiteleaf
    Oct 3rd: Solihull CC Open Winwood Heath
    Oct 11th: Bec CC Open at White Lane (???)
    Oct 18th: Berkhamstead CC Open at Tom's Hill

    and then...

    Oct 25th: National HC Championship at Streatley (if I qualify)
  • That will be you on water and lettuce for the next six weeks then?
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,276

    That will be you on water and lettuce for the next six weeks then?

    Done the prep work already... lost a stone during lockdown
  • joe2019joe2019 Posts: 720
    What's the qualifying for the Nationals?
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,276
    joe2019 said:

    What's the qualifying for the Nationals?

    No idea... I spoke to the organiser, she only said to "get a result by October 6th", but I am not quite sure if that means "any result" or "get a decent result".
    She is aiming to have 480 places, so it should be relatively easy to qualify... but of course with Covid you never know if she really can deliver an event for 480 riders of if that number needs to be curbed in half or a quarter or whatever.
  • marykamaryka Posts: 745
    Qualifying for Nationals* generally means a half-decent result in at least 1 open hill climb, preferably something with a similar duration/length and also with some decent riders at the top of the results. It's a bit of a dark art (compared with the usual 10 or 25 entries which are purely on fastest time) but a good HC organiser will be watching results from around the country so will know the best riders and can judge how you compare to them.

    *even 5 years ago this wasn't an issue but HCs have exploded in the past few years so are oversubscribed especially on a popular course in a well-populated spectator-friendly area. This year who knows though! If no spectators are allowed, that will probably reduce a lot of demand for entry.
  • joe2019joe2019 Posts: 720
    Thanks for the info, totally forgot that there probably won't be many spectators this year.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,276
    Thanks Maryka... is it fair to say that 480 entries is a larger field than in the past?
  • marykamaryka Posts: 745
    I believe it was 180 when I first started doing it. 240 on a closed road I think? And then in 2016 there was massive controversy because it was oversubscribed and many people were rejected who should have got rides. The solution was to add more riders but put the majority of the field (all but the top ~60 men) at 30 sec intervals on a 3 min climb, which included the top women... grr. (I caught someone at the corner and had to take the long line around which really p!ssed me off though I wasn't going to to win that year anyway).

    Last year I think it was back to 1 min intervals again but wasn't oversubscribed and not a closed road. This year must be closed road + 30 sec intervals for all if they've doubled the field size?
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,276
    She confirmed it's closed road... a bit odd, since it's the B4009, which is not an insignificant road and connects Goring to Newbury.

    I've got three Open events before the 6th... the one at Whiteleaf is probably the most competitive in terms of entries... I've seen the results from last year and 4 riders under 4 minutes going up Whiteleaf is bonkers... My best is 5:06, maybe I can nudge just under 5 minutes, which would put me around 30th... :-(
  • marykamaryka Posts: 745
    That should be good enough. Be sure to check the reserve box on the Nationals form because savvy orgs will put only local people in the reserve list and therefore you'll certainly get a ride even if you don't get in initially.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,276
    maryka said:

    That should be good enough. Be sure to check the reserve box on the Nationals form because savvy orgs will put only local people in the reserve list and therefore you'll certainly get a ride even if you don't get in initially.

    I'm not that local... based in the Midlands. There are only 2 open climbs in the K area, so I need to go a bit further and the Chilterns are the second closest.

    One HC in the all of the northern Cotswolds is pretty poor... not a single HC either Open or Club going up KH6 is odd... that climb is absolutely perfect, not sure why nobody use it
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,276
    Coming "into season" at the right time... this morning I managed to climb Edge hill in under 4 minutes at 353 W or 5.4 W/kg... which is a pretty big improvement over the 5.1 W/kg I did back in July. Knocked 7 seconds off my PB, which I think is the single biggest gain I've done this year. Now it's a case of tapering... first HC race is next Saturday, a non qualifying club event organised by Banbury Star CC, typically well attended, last year they had 40 entries... I'm secretly hoping for a top ten, although KH5 is a 80-90 seconds course, so if you get the clip-in wrong at the start, then you've lost a bunch... hopefully all the strong guys will get it wrong and I will get it spot on... :-)

    I wrote a short piece about the all thing on my blog, first article in almost two years... phew... :o
    https://whosatthewheel.com
  • webboowebboo Posts: 2,858
    Don’t you get pushed off at the start, so you won’t need to clip in.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,276
    webboo said:

    Don’t you get pushed off at the start, so you won’t need to clip in.

    Not anymore... In the Covid-19 age, there are no pushers or catchers... start with your foot down.
  • webboowebboo Posts: 2,858
    Get some double sided SPD pedals on in that Case.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,276
    webboo said:

    Get some double sided SPD pedals on in that Case.

    Doesn't make much difference... It's a lottery, most of the times I get it right very quickly...
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,276
    First race, got my axxe kicked by a much more competitive field than anticipated. Based on last year's results, I was confident to get a top ten finish, but even exceeding my expectations, I only managed 14th out of 22, which is quite disappointing, let's face it.
    Anyway, the bright side is that a 450 mt long climb is not my thing and I still managed to top my best power figures by quite some margin (first time one full minute > 500 Watt) and I improved my time on KH5 by 6 seconds.
    And of course I got some lovely photos out of it


  • Unless you sabatage your opponent's kit or their attempt up the hill, you cannot influence what they do, it's an uphill TT!

    All you can do is try and match or surpass your training power numbers for the duration of the climb, giving it your best shot in the circumstances faced when you set off.
    ================
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
    2017 Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc 2016
    2016 Voodoo Wazoo
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,276

    Unless you sabatage your opponent's kit or their attempt up the hill, you cannot influence what they do, it's an uphill TT!

    All you can do is try and match or surpass your training power numbers for the duration of the climb, giving it your best shot in the circumstances faced when you set off.

    True... however in the qualifying events, time will be irrelevant, it's where you finish that dictates if you get a spot at the National or not...
    So, happy with the numbers, less so with the finish. Hopefully I'll do better on longer climbs


  • bobmcstuffbobmcstuff Posts: 9,031
    500 watts for 1 minute is a good effort!
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,276

    500 watts for 1 minute is a good effort!

    That was the benchmark I had in mind when I embarked in this Hill Climb adventure... a minute at 7.5-8 W/kg I thought would get me in the top half... but clearly the bar is a bit higher...
    It might be that this year the competition is stiffer, since TT is the only racing going on.

    That said, I was only 4 seconds away from being in the top half and I might well have lost 4 seconds clipping in at the start, so things might get better :smile:
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,276
    Did a "3 minute test" early this morning up a short climb in the Cotswolds... 5.6 W/kg and 22nd out of 1800 in the segment, so hopefully I'll do better in next Sunday's race, which is a 3:30-4:00 minute job... :smile:
  • shirley_bassoshirley_basso Posts: 3,439
    Nice work, Ugo.

    I reckon most people have been destroying themselves on turbo trainers this summer during lockdown, so you may find that levels have stepped up a notch for these shorter climbs, for this year.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,276
    edited 7 September

    Nice work, Ugo.

    I reckon most people have been destroying themselves on turbo trainers this summer during lockdown, so you may find that levels have stepped up a notch for these shorter climbs, for this year.

    I've noticed a definite step up in the flat time trials. The last one I did at Mallory park on Thursday was ridiculous... folks doing 23 minutes in a 10 and finishing in the bottom half... I mean, a few years ago a 22 was good enough to win a club event and I am not talking donkey years ago.
    Juniors doing sub 20 minutes... I mean, really?

    I definitively think all these kids that would normally race crits are now doing TT, which is great for the sport, less so for us geriatrics... :wink:
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,276
    edited 14 September
    HC race up Winwood Heath road (KH12) yesterday organised by Beacon RCC, a beautiful strip of well maintained and deserted tarmac winding its way up the Clent hills escarpment, the perfect setting for a hill climb race, with a mid section at 16%, a drag to the finish and overall averaging just over 10% for 1km.
    I was hoping for a sub 4 minutes and pending results confirmation, it should be 3:56, averaging 5.5 W/kg for the Strava segment. So I am quite happy. As club events go, it was very well attended, like an Open event, with the full Aerocoach team making an appearance and fast espoir Cameron Biddle starting one minute after me. He passed me on the final straight, taking the win and the course record in 2:52... pretty mind boggling, although his weight including the bike is a stone less than my weight without the bike and I only weigh 10 stone and a bit... :o Ah, being young!

    Biggest regret was not wearing a cycling cap and therefore showing my thinning hair in the photos... but at least I was riding on the drops in the shallow part of the climb...

    photo courtesy of George Barker

    EDIT: 15th out of 31.... quite pleased with that, considering that as well as the winner, there was a former national champion
  • Double hill climb race today, an Open event organised by Solihull CC up Saintbury and Dovers in the Cotswolds. Excellent turnout of almost 50 riders, including former National Champions Andrew Feather and the legendary Tejvan Pettinger (cycling uphill). Nice to pay 18 quid to race the best of the best.
    Anyway, 26th overall and more importantly 5th among the geriatrics... ehm, I mean veterans... :D

    Particularly pleased with my time up Saintbury, almost knocked a minute off my PB

  • marykamaryka Posts: 745
    I once set a 5 min PB up Saintbury... then had to endure another 2.5 minutes of exquisite suffering to the finish. First HC ever and what a learning experience for pacing!

    Anyway well done, still more than a month to go so don't peak too soon!
  • maryka said:

    I once set a 5 min PB up Saintbury... then had to endure another 2.5 minutes of exquisite suffering to the finish. First HC ever and what a learning experience for pacing!

    Anyway well done, still more than a month to go so don't peak too soon!

    Thanks Maryka!

    Given the rate of infection, I live by the day and every race I can do, that's a bonus. I am getting increasingly pessimistic about the chances of being allowed to travel to get to the National.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,276
    edited 20 September
    I felt OK this morning after yesterday's climbing extravaganza, so I managed to sneak in a local hill climb organised by Midland Cycling & Athletic Club up KH11 this morning.... only three of us showed up... I took an easy win... not much to shout about, but it's all morale... :)

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