Reading CC Double Hill Climb, 22 Sept 2019
I was really looking forward to this event: two hills with one hour of recovery between them making for an interesting challenge. But after my mediocre performance last week, and seeing the weather forecast was for heavy rain during the event, I almost decided not to go, as a 2.5 hour drive before and after wasn’t hugely attractive. I set off nevertheless, and the weather seemed ok for the drive there and after I arrived. I was rather late so only had time to recce the first hill by car before a shortened warmup. The warmup itself was then cut short by the onset of the rain, about 10 minutes before my start time. It got very cold, and a few of us decided that sheltering under the station roof near the start was preferable to continuing a ‘warmup’ in the rain. I’ve never wanted my start time to come so quickly, but once I was underway it was ok. The first hill was relatively long (6 minute target time) with a steepish section near the start followed by a long drag to the finish line.
Having completed the first climb, and continued along the same road to spin my legs out, I then had to go back down the hill and across town back to my car. By this time I was pretty cold, so put my coat and hat on and sat in the car for 20 mins or so, before getting on the rollers in coat and hat, still in steady rain, to spin as much as possible before the next climb. As the riders had already started on the second hill there was no opportunity to recce it, but from the profile it looked simple enough - a steady start followed by a steep ramp that stayed pretty constant until near the finish where it eased off, target time 3 minutes. I did lower my tyre pressures as grip was likely to be an issue. My plan was to stay seated for the first section after the start and then try and stay out of the saddle for the ramp. I probably made it for ¾ of that before running out of legs and having to grind my way up until the gradient eased off. Looking at it afterwards, it’s tantalising how close I got to the top of the ramp. A recce and better pacing might have seen me make it. I had no trouble with wheelspin though which many were complaining about afterwards.
After that it was just a case of getting back to the car and out of my drenched kit and into dry clothes before the long drive home. Results-wise I came 35th out of 56 riders (total time 9:03), so not great, but 6th Vet - it definitely seems like a young person’s game!