Swain's Lane Urban Hill Climb, 28 Sept 2019
My hill climb season continued with the Urban Hill Climb in north London last Saturday. Not being a CTT event, and with over 250 competitors it promised to be a rather different experience and indeed it was, with hundreds of spectators as well as commentary and music playing while you rode the course.
Being in London, it took quite a while to drive there and find somewhere to park, but I managed to find somewhere and rode over to the HQ to pick up my number and then check out the course. You could only get partway up, but it was clear the hill started off steadily and then ramped up past a pub where most of the spectators were. The pacing strategy meant making sure you kept something back to attack the ramp hard and then still have something left to take you to the finish.
After a warmup, I joined the queue for the start, with 30 second gaps meaning there wasn’t much time to get ready before being sent off. I accelerated out of the start and stayed in the saddle until the ramp, when I got out of the saddle and gave it everything I had. The whole thing was a blur of noise and pain, going up a narrow road with spectators on either side with shouting and cowbells being the accompaniment. I made it over the finish line and spent some time recovering and waiting for the feeling to return to my legs. The finals in each category were a 2-up race so some poor people had to do it all over again, which made for a great finish to the day for those fast enough (which I wasn’t).