Rider comments

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Well I was never going to win any prizes, and in fact I nearly didn’t show up for this one, although now I’m glad I did go for it.

This is my second year of doing the Porlock Hill Climb, and the third Hill climb I’ve participated in. I’m not sure, what appealed to me about a time trial up a hill. Since I took up road cycling, I seem to have fallen in with a strange, but friendly group of incline obsessed cyclists.

I got a lift to the event with Gordon Markus, who won the vets category, he checked over my bike for me and sorted out my number (too flappy) We signed on, and then I left him to warm up, while I went to watch people starting. The previous year, I found the ramp start really intimidating, and made a mess of getting off it. I was determined to make a better start this year.

I put more effort into warming up, than I had the previous year, and made sure I was at the start in good time. The likely winner of the Womens prize started directly behind me, and I wondered how long I would stay ahead of her (not long!)

My efforts at improving my start paid off, and I initially felt quite confident. I tried to keep a constant cadence and effort, as I know the climb is steady, but long. It wasn’t long before I got overtaken by the eventual lady winner, she went by as if I wasn’t moving. I focused on keeping going, and on the road ahead.

The supporters, marshalls, and the competitors coming back down the hill shouted encouragement,. I decided to treat the climb like a turbo session, and looked forward to coming out above the trees. My initial joy at being above the tree line was then spoilt by the headwind that hit at that point. Eventually I got to the finish feeling a bit sick and dizzy, so I knew I had put some effort in.

I made my way cautiously back down the hill, stopping to chat to the marshalls on the way. The think I like best about the hill climbs I have done, is that they are really friendly events. The Porlock one is very well organized, and there are amazing cakes. I didn’t win anything, but I didn’t come last. Next year I will be back, and next year I will train better, and be faster.

In early July, I decided to take a break from top level domestic road racing and time trialling.  Physically tired and mentally worn out from training, racing, and the associated endless travelling and chaotic life surrounding it, I'd had enough.  Having half-seriously announced my "retirement" from hill climbs last autumn after losing the National champs, I figured I'd bow out gracefully from all things racing and just ride my bike for enjoyment for a while.  Which I did, for nearly 2.5 months.  Lots of miles, lots more smiles, nary a pedal turned in anger.  But of course I still entered the Minehead CC hill climb on the Porlock toll road, as even with the pressure of racing it's still my favourite climb in the UK and I wouldn't pass up the chance to ride it.  Plus with the kids' Go Ride event (and my competitive 6 year old daughter wanting a third crack at winning the under-8 competition) and such friendly and accommodating organisers allowing my husband and me to have widely-spaced start times to trade off child care, it was a no brainer.  The combined weekend of racing first in Exeter on Saturday and then in Porlock on Sunday is truly a great family event for us.

The weekend before, coincidentally, I was entered in a the Tour of Sussex, a stage race including an 8 minute hilly ITT and very hilly RR stage.  As it wasn't far from my house and I wanted to support the local organisers, I decided to race it with my women's team.  Surprising myself with a 3rd in the ITT and then 6th in the RR to finish 5th overall, I also rekindled my love of road racing and realised that even without structured training I could still hold my own in regional racing.  Turned out that 8 times up Beachy Head (9 including the ITT) was perfect interval training for short hill climb races, as I turned up in Exeter the following weekend in fine form, winning the race and feeling fantastic despite a niggling sore throat (oh the hazards of going back to school in September). 

The next day was Porlock and my sore throat had blossomed into a full-on headcold, but thankfully just above the neck and I felt I could still ride and put in a decent performance.  My high hopes for a PB in time and effort (which had seemed a possibility after the Exeter race) were put on the back burner until I heard from my husband Jim that there was a tailwind (!!) on the top half of the course and he'd done 17:56.  Hope came back, but from the minute I rolled off the start ramp I could tell that I was going to have to work for every second of the race today.  No worries, it's Porlock and so easy to settle into a rhythm on the climb that you can almost believe you're not working hard.  I hit the tollbooth about halfway with a good split, and as my second half is usually stronger, sub-17 still seemed a possibility.  Knowing the top half was flatter, I was looking forward to this mythical tailwind.  Except then over the cattle grid and into the open and it wasn't there!  In fact it felt like a headwind and my brain started ticking over the numbers as I realised a sub-17 time was not going to happen.  A mile to go, half a mile to go, the last quarter mile seemed to go on and on, each metre could not come fast enough.  Finally crossing the line in nearly the same time I did last year, 17:43.5, I did have a PB but by less than a half-second. 

Back down the hill just before the kids set off in the Go-Race, I threw on some warmer clothing and rode partway up the hill again slowly to cooldown and then descended again to see the under-8 race coming up the hill.  There was my daughter, halfway through her race and furious that she'd be caught and passed by another girl (watching the video later on, it was clear she'd sprinted off the start and gone out way too hard!) but as she has 2 more years left to come back and conquer this race, she was consoled with 2nd place, a podium and some prizes in the form of books and a pot of jam.

All in all, a successful weekend with Jim setting a PB and vowing to train properly to win the vets 40 competition next year and me winning the women's crown and beating all but one of the veteran men!  I have also realised that it's pretty hard to stop competing at hill climbs without stopping racing them altogether, but that day will likely come in a few years when my daughter grows up enough to be taking them seriously herself.  She's spent many years being dragged around to cycling events and forced to watch me racing, so it's only fair that I do the same in return.  Just not quite yet...

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Position First Name Last Name Club Precise Time Avg. Speed
1 Dan Evans ASSOS Equipe UK 14:31.5 16.533 Mph
2 Ed Laverack JLT Condor 14:42.9 16.327 Mph
3 Charlie Meredith Giant CC - Halo Films 15:10.8 15.824 Mph
4 Thomas Baylis One Pro cycling Ltd 15:11.3 15.807 Mph
5 George Kimber CS Dynamo 15:20.2 15.652 Mph
6 Andrew Feather Bike Chain Ricci 15:42.8 15.287 Mph
7 Ashley F J Towey Mid Devon CC 15:59.9 15.016 Mph
8 Andrew Kirby University of Bristol Cycling Club (UOBCC) 16:04.8 14.938 Mph
9 Louie Priddle Mid Devon CC 16:24.5 14.634 Mph
10 Gordon Markus Severn Road Club 16:28.3 14.575 Mph
11 tavis walker DRK Racing 16:30.0 14.545 Mph
12 Josh Coyne Okehampton CC 16:37.8 14.443 Mph
13 Jamie Dene Welwyn Whs 16:43.5 14.357 Mph
14 joe norledge Bristol South Cycling Club 16:45.6 14.328 Mph
15 Hugh Brashaw University of Bristol Cycling Club (UOBCC) 16:54.2 14.201 Mph
16 Frederik Scheske Exeter Whs CC 16:56.5 14.173 Mph
17 Russell Peace Dursley Road Club 17:01.2 14.104 Mph
18 william evans Wellington Wheelers Cycling Club 17:03.3 14.076 Mph
19 Callum Hunter University of Bristol Cycling Club (UOBCC) 17:08.4 14.008 Mph
20 Tristan Davies One and All Cycling 17:16.0 13.9 Mph
21 Bradley Manaton Mid Devon CC 17:19.0 13.859 Mph
22 George Jones Velo Club St Raphael 17:23.9 13.806 Mph
23 Andrew Peat Solihull CC 17:29.0 13.727 Mph
24 Daniel Alford Bristol South Cycling Club 17:35.6 13.649 Mph
25 Maryka Sennema Paceline RT 17:43.5 13.547 Mph
26 John Hunt Beacon Roads CC 17:47.0 13.496 Mph
27 simon warren Norwood Paragon CC 17:48.2 13.483 Mph
28 Corey Bale Team Onform 17:50.1 13.458 Mph
29 Rowan Ellis 1st Chard Wheelers 17:51.1 13.445 Mph
30 Neil Reynolds Velo Club Montpellier 17:53.0 13.42 Mph
31 Nick Martin East Grinstead CC 17:54.1 13.408 Mph
32 Jim Ley Paceline RT 17:56.7 13.383 Mph
33 Mark Brock Team Tor 2000 (Kalas) 17:57.7 13.37 Mph
34 Jim Beales Dursley Road Club 18:00.6 13.333 Mph
35 Oliver Walker-Hayes University of Bristol Cycling Club (UOBCC) 18:07.0 13.247 Mph
36 James Coleman DRK Racing 18:13.3 13.175 Mph
37 Ben Turner Wellington Wheelers Cycling Club 18:15.5 13.151 Mph
38 Elizabeth Banks Storey Racing 18:26.4 13.02 Mph
39 Lee Morgan Team Bottrill / HSS Hire 18:32.3 12.95 Mph
40 Jon Ashby Sid Valley CC 18:42.1 12.834 Mph
41 Marc Allen Swindon Road Club 18:43.2 12.823 Mph
42 Stephen TOOGOOD Minehead Cycling Club 18:43.7 12.823 Mph
43 Dave Entrican Exeter Whs CC 18:48.0 12.766 Mph
44 Joanne Jago Performance Cycles CC 18:53.6 12.71 Mph
45 Alex Lewis Exeter Whs CC 18:58.3 12.654 Mph
46 Geoff Ware Minehead Cycling Club 18:59.9 12.643 Mph
47 Charlie Revell Team Tor 2000 (Kalas) 19:02.0 12.609 Mph
48 Lee Musto Minehead Cycling Club 19:30.9 12.308 Mph
49 Jessica Evans ASSOS Equipe UK 19:32.4 12.287 Mph
50 Liam Abbotts Crewe Clarion Whs 19:37.9 12.234 Mph
51 John Grenfell Bath Cycling Club 19:38.9 12.224 Mph
52 Daniel Godfrey Minehead Cycling Club 19:44.2 12.162 Mph
53 Ralph swallow South Western Road Club/Evans Cycles 19:46.3 12.142 Mph
54 Rob Nash Bristol South Cycling Club 19:46.4 12.142 Mph
55 Richard Boulter Minehead Cycling Club 19:52.6 12.081 Mph
56 Matthew w Minehead Cycling Club 20:02.2 11.98 Mph
57 martin shapland Exeter Whs CC 20:16.4 11.842 Mph
58 Ben Davies Somerset Road Club 20:23.9 11.774 Mph
59 Lawrence May 100% ME 20:29.5 11.717 Mph
60 Ben Woodland North Devon Wheelers 20:37.2 11.641 Mph
61 Nick Burton Newark Castle C C 20:44.3 11.576 Mph
62 Wayne Reeder Tanks Direct Cycling 20:45.6 11.566 Mph
63 Emma Cockcroft Bianchi Dama UK 20:50.2 11.52 Mph
64 Wiebke Rietz 1st Chard Wheelers 21:20.9 11.25 Mph
65 Gregory Ashley Team Jewson - MI Racing ~Poly Pipe~McCann 21:29.3 11.171 Mph
66 Anabell Orenz North Cotswold CC 21:31.9 11.154 Mph
67 Jon Leonard Wellington Wheelers Cycling Club 21:37.3 11.103 Mph
68 Fin Walter Minehead Cycling Club 21:52.2 10.976 Mph
69 Mike Egan 1st Chard Wheelers 21:57.9 10.934 Mph
70 Hannah Rainger North Devon Wheelers 22:02.8 10.893 Mph
71 Andy Owen Wellington Wheelers Cycling Club 22:03.2 10.884 Mph
72 Steve Rosser Somerset Road Club 22:04.1 10.876 Mph
73 Dylan Leonard Wellington Wheelers Cycling Club 22:08.0 10.843 Mph
74 steve clarke Bristol South Cycling Club 22:14.0 10.795 Mph
75 Chris Doyle THE Cycle Studio~Core Telecom~RPC 22:14.5 10.795 Mph
76 Alice Thomson DRK Racing 22:35.9 10.627 Mph
77 Nathan Bale Tanks Direct Cycling 22:37.8 10.612 Mph
78 Benjamin Kettleborough CS Dynamo 22:38.5 10.604 Mph
79 Marcus Abbotts Crewe Clarion Whs 22:56.2 10.465 Mph
80 Shaun Duffield North Devon Wheelers 23:06.0 10.39 Mph
81 Jacob Thomas Exeter Whs CC 23:17.1 10.308 Mph
82 Derek Farmer Minehead Cycling Club 23:20.0 10.286 Mph
83 Graham Smith Severn Road Club 23:24.1 10.256 Mph
84 Rosalind Willicombe Minehead Cycling Club 23:28.7 10.227 Mph
85 Lucy Poole Exeter Whs CC 23:33.0 10.191 Mph
86 Michaela Spitzer Minehead Cycling Club 23:35.1 10.177 Mph
87 Heidi Blunden Sodbury Cycle Sport 24:03.8 9.979 Mph
88 Sean Dale Minehead Cycling Club 24:06.5 9.958 Mph
89 Anne Bennett Serpentine Running Club 24:29.0 9.803 Mph
90 Emma Spriggs Taw Velo 24:50.2 9.664 Mph
91 kirsty bennett Bristol South Cycling Club 24:51.8 9.658 Mph
92 Jason Willicombe Minehead Cycling Club 25:06.2 9.562 Mph
93 Tyler Lindo North Devon Wheelers 25:09.4 9.543 Mph
94 Janet Hewlett Minehead Cycling Club 25:33.4 9.393 Mph
95 David Francis Alltrax 26:17.0 9.131 Mph
96 Alice Earle VeloVitesse/ALLCAP/James Barry/Johnson Controls – Hitachi 26:18.5 9.125 Mph
97 Paul Charman Farnham RC 26:50.3 8.944 Mph
98 David Poole Somerset Road Club 27:18.7 8.791 Mph
99 Finlay Webb Exeter Whs CC 27:47.8 8.638 Mph
100 Margaret Greatorex Minehead Cycling Club 30:34.8 7.852 Mph
101 Andy Webb Exeter Whs CC 34:29.2 6.96 Mph
102 Scott Huish Tanks Direct Cycling 36:28.1 6.581 Mph
DNF Samuel Medlyn One and All Cycling 00:00.0
DNS Adam whitehead Bristol South Cycling Club 00:00.0
DNS Glyndwr Griffiths 73Degrees CC 00:00.0
DNS Peter Haworth Team Tor 2000 (Kalas) 00:00.0
DNS Hannah Reeve 73Degrees CC 00:00.0
DNS Josephine Gilbet NCC Group-Kuota-Torelli 00:00.0
DNS Neve Upton Team Onform 00:00.0
DNS Nick Bryant Tanks Direct Cycling 00:00.0
DNS David John Gooding North Devon Wheelers 00:00.0
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