Yesterday cyclists from across the country gathered for the 117th edition of the Catford Hill Climb - and so did Matt Pennell to capture the event on this brilliant video.
Billed as the world's oldest bike race the Catford Hill Climb attracts the cream of the country's hill climbing talent plus riders of all ages and levels of hill climbing experience all keen to test themselves against the 775 yard climb of Yorks Hill - which isn't in Catford, but on a ridge below the North Downs in Kent - which rears up at an average gradient of 12.5 per cent with two sections that hit 25 per cent. Among those taking part this year was Team Sky DS Sean Yates - and one of the select band of Brits to wear the TdF yellow jersey, in his first ever hill climb despite decades as a fixture on the domestic racing and TT scene.
Aside from Yates all eyes were on defending champion Rob Gough out to make it four in a row and to beat Phil Mason's 29 year-old course record in the process. Gough had to settle for 1 out of 2 winning by a margin of 4 seconds from Matthew Pilikington of Team Bglobal but still a whopping 7 seconds outside of Mason's 1 min 47.6 sec record - Matthew Stephens of Zappi's Cycling Club was 3rd.
Catford Hill Climb 2012 winners
1st Robert Gough (Artic SRAM RT)
2nd Matthew Pilkington (Team Bglobal)
3rd Matthew Steven (Zappi's Cyling Club)
4th Glyndwr Griffiths (Bristol South Cycling Club)
Team Competition Kingston Wheelers
1st Women Lydia Boylan (Look Mum No Hands!)
1st Junior Alex Peters (Mosquito Bikes)
1st Men Veteran John Storms (Kingston Wheelers)
1st Women Veteran Deborah Percival (34 Nomads Gem Hygiene Club)
Sean Yates rolled home in a respectable time of 3:22.2 enough for 114th place overall and 22nd place in the vets competition - going downhill was always more his forte. Top Yates on the day was Sean's younger brother Connall who came 16th.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.