This Saturday evening sees Red Bull Hill Chasers return to Bristol following its successful debut last year, pitting pairs of riders from different disciplines against each other to find out which bike and type of riding is best for going uphill – and the flag carriers for road cycling this year is Ted King of Liquigas-Cannondale, one of the pro peloton’s quirkier characters. What's more, anyone can enter, with a an open qualification session on Saturday morning.
King’s musings on his blog – sometimes irreverent, often insightful, always worth reading – have won him something of a cult following among fans, with his “I am not Ted King” t-shirts, frame stickers and even a pint glass helping raise money for charity.
He’ll be joined on Saturday at the event, which starts on Park Street at 7pm, by 15 national and international pros from four other disciplines – fixed, BMX, cyclocross and mountain bike.
The remainder of the 32-strong field will be made up of riders selected through a qualifying session in the morning, held between 8.30am and 11am on Saturday morning on neighbouring Hill Street. Entries for that are being accepted on the Red Bull Hill Chasers web page.
Competition in the evening session will see the 32 finalists whittled down to just two who will fight it out for the top prize of a Charge Gold frame, with a Silver frame on offer for the runner-up and – you guessed it – a Bronze one for the rider finishing in third place.
Going by the video of last year’s event, won by Chris Metcalfe, back to defend his title, there will also be a big crowd out to cheer them on.
The pro riders taking part, with discipline in brackets plus their sponsors, are:
Ted King (Road) Liquigas-Cannondale
Austin Horse (Street/Fixed) Brooklyn Machine Works
Michal Prokop (Mountain Bike 4X) Specialized/Red Bull
Jon Pybus (Cross Country) GT Racing UK
Ed McParland (Cross Country) GT Racing UK
Dave Henderson (Cross Country) GT Racing UK
Gareth Mongomerie (Cross Country) GT Racing UK
Chris Metcalfe (Cyclo Cross/Road) Charge
Jon Watson (Cyclo Cross/Road) Charge
Abi Greenway (Cross Country) Charge
Juliet Elliot (Street/Fixed) Charge
Aidan Bishop (Mountain Bike Freeride/DH) Cannondale/Mavic
Lewis Lacey (BMX) Charge BMX
Kye Forte (Mountain Bike Freeride) Red Bull
Rob Reed (BMX Charge) BMX
Scott Beaumont (4X) Yeti
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.