Remember last year’s Red Bull Hill Chasers in Bristol, which pitched cyclists from a variety of disciplines against each other to find the quickest rider up Park Street in Clifton? Well, next month, the format makes its Scottish debut in Edinburgh, with the 170-metre course starting on Grassmarket then heading up the cobbled sweep of Victoria Street, which leads to the Royal Mile.
Up to 500 cyclists will vie to set the fastest times in qualifying rounds on Saturday 30 March, with 30 going through to take on ten seeded riders including three times World Champion four-cross rider Michal Prokop in the finals, which start at 7pm that evening, and see riders go head to head.
It doesn’t matter what you’re riding – BMX, road, MTB and fixie fans are all welcome – and entries are open on the Red Bull Hill Chasers website until midnight on Friday 22 March.
Victoria Street, Edinburgh (courtesy Red Bull)
Prokop commented: “I’m really looking forward to visiting Edinburgh for the first time for this years’ Red Bull Hill Chasers! The race atmosphere is going to be amazing.” Given that the qualifiers start at 6am and the number of pubs and bars on Grassmarket in particular, that may prove to be an understatement.
Councillor Steve Cardownie, the City of Edinburgh Council's Festival and Events Champion, commented: “Red Bull Hill Chasers is the ultimate ‘battle of the bikes’ and a great opportunity for cycling enthusiasts to not only test their skills, but to race against top bike athletes from across the UK.
“We’re delighted to welcome the event to Scotland for the very first time. There’s a huge cycling community here and I can think of no better backdrop for this exhilarating challenge than Edinburgh’s dramatic Old Town.”
Red Bull Hill Chasers 2012 - podium (© Red Bull Media House)
Prizes come courtesy of Charge Bikes, whose Neil Cousins said: “Charge Bikes are proud to be supporting Red Bull for the 3rd annual Hill Chasers event. After two years in Bristol, local to Charge, we are traveling further afield to enjoy the stunning sights that Edinburgh has to offer.
“It is always a highlight to see everyday riders coming to an event like Red Bull Hill Chasers and racing the pros, sometimes beating them too. The racing is definitely going to be fast and furious. We hope to see you all there!”
Here’s a video of last year’s action in Bristol. It’s pretty much guaranteed that it will be just as exciting in Edinburgh.
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.