Rollapaluza Urban Hill Climb: race report +video

Guest post from Harry Cockburn on the notorious Swains Lane route

by Harry Cockburn   July 21, 2012  

Ben Wiggle Hill Climb winner

London's bicycle community were out in force last night for the Rollapaluza urban hill climb event on Swain's Lane.

This narrow road leading through Highgate cemetery up to Highgate village, is one of London's most notorious ascents, hitting an energy-sapping 20% incline at its steepest point.

The route was famously part of a young Wiggo's training routine.

Cycling up it at all is a feat of endurance for all but the serious cyclist, while sprinting from bottom to top in under two minutes is nihilistic.

Simon Warren, author of 100 greatest hill climbs, who was taking part in the event said: "You've got to be plugged in, switched on and focused."

Over 150 entrants queued up to punish themselves in the mountains of North London, with the requisite wackiness in the form of a pretty impressive uni-cycle ascent, a host of determined Brompton riders, and even a couple of commuters on their way home from work with rucksacks still on their backs.

The fastest time was set by Wiggle rider Ben Simmons covering the distance in 1 minute 32.6 putting him into a head to head final with second fastest rider John Storms from the veterans category.

At the finish line there was less than half a bike length between them, with Simmons taking the win.

"I just started slow, and I got the jump on him at the end," Simmons said. "I think there's a prize, but I've got to go to the bottom again to find my girlfriend."

Photos of the 2012 event can be viewed here.

Here's a video of 2011's event, for a little bit of flavour: