Hill climbing, I'm getting used to this...
No I'm not, that's a lie. Putting myself in a place where my arms lose all feeling and my vision reduces to a single spot 2 metres in front of my front wheel is going to take a bit more getting used to than a couple of hill climbs.
Fortunately this hill, Logie Kirk is one I know well but one I've never actually ridden in anger. It normally forms part of a 20 mile loop I do into work and comes about 5 miles in so I tend not to go hard on it as I'd be left with another 14 miles to get to the comfort of my desk. The hill itself is a mile long and 10% average gradient, that doesn't sound too bad but there are a couple of places where the gradient kicks up to 20% and up to a maximum of 27%. It's not an easy hill to climb.
The thing that makes hills like Logie Kirk difficult are the changes in gradient, it's hard to find a rhythm and stay there, there's always a change of input needed from the rider as the slope shifts either way. The hill starts out with a shallow gradient but then rises into a steep slope, up through broadleaf woodland – this is where the steep stuff is.
A steepening round a hair pin seems like the end of the hard work but it's not, there's more to come, the hill keeps fighting until you leave the trees and get onto a lower gradient up to the finish. This is where I try to make up time by emptying myself but the 27% stuff has taken its toll and I try to recover for a few seconds before getting out of the saddle and sprinting the final few hundred metres. It's a slow sprint.
My finishing time was 5 minutes 46 seconds, enough for 33rd place out of 72 starters. I was happy with that. Originally I didn't think I'd break the 6 minute mark but my target was revised on the start line having seen the times of clubmates who'd ridden before me. The fastest time from my club was by a junior, Kyle, who did it in 5:19, the winning time was an astounding 4:32! Something to aim for if I lose half my bodyweight... maybe.
Cake and sandwiches!
The event was great, cow bells, shouts, lots of spectators and, of course, cake and sandwiches. There was even a tray of egg sandwiches brought out on request! That's part of my problem though, I've been aiming for my desired racing weight all year and not got there for one reason or another (mainly because I like food!) so the focus for this period up to Christmas is getting down to 73kg and staying there for the 2013 season. I have a rival in the club who I need to beat next year, though I think I'm picking a fight I can't win! My mate Graeme and I got the same time on the last hill climb we did, we thought Logie Kirk would be the decider but we ended up with exactly the same time again... 2013 is going to be an interesting season!