Thanks to Harriet Evans who has sent in this great report about taking part in a hill climb series in Derbyshire
Having never ridden a Hill Climb event before, doing my first series up in Derbyshire definitely has thrown me into the deep end! My first event was a hill near to where I am currently living so it was one I knew well… or knew the pub at the bottom! It was a baby hill for the beginning of the series to warm our legs up and shock the system! Due to covid, it was one foot on the ground for the start which I am certainly not used to with my past racing in time trials so I got nervous about clipping in at the bottom of the hill. I was number 4 so ended up being the first woman off! I got my foot on the pedal but struggled to swing it round to clip in so I just powered on up with my eyes fixed to the corner towards the top of the hill. Just before the turn in the route, my legs began to feel it and then as I turned the corner, it was ramped up a notch again. Luckily, this hill climb was only 0.22 miles long so over the speed bumps (!!) I went and powered through to the finish at the top of the hill. I came 7th out of the women, which for my first hill climb I was proud of at 1 minute 15 seconds. I got the buzz!
Next week rolled around and I decided to batter myself on another hill climb, but this time it was in the more rural end of Derbyshire which, of course, meant a much larger, longer and steeper hill! I recce’d it the day before so I knew how to pace myself- there was a lovely little flattened out bit half way up to recover to look forward to.
I arrived at the event surrounded by Pride flags as this was Ilkeston Cycle Club’s Pride event for Pride Month. Signing on I was given number 93 and I rode down to the start. Again, one foot on the floor to start and my second foot clipped the pedal and slipped off, second attempt at clipping in and failed so I persevered on up the sharp start until I could look down to clip in for the rest of the hill climb. The atmosphere was amazing with most spectators gathering at the pub halfway up! The first half of the climb was painful but bearable, I got to the flat was able to crank the power up and building momentum for the second half. The next ‘up’ was hard work getting to the hills steepest area. Once I had arrived at the top of the hill it flattened out and I was able to push my pedals down to speed up to the colourful finish line. The support along the way was incredible!
Finishing with a 6th place out of the women and a 5 minute 37 second result! Only 5 more to do to complete the series now I’m hooked!- highly recommend to anyone looking to give it a good go!