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Rider comments

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Six months ago I had no idea any of this went on. I’ve been into various forms of cycling, mountain biking mostly, for 28 years on and off. Finding out (from a colleague, thanks Paul!) that there was this whole hill climbing scene out there I never knew about was something of a pleasant surprise. It seemed like it might be my tiny cup of double espresso.


So, first up, enter a race. The CTT website is pretty easy to navigate, but did it draw me in? Not really, seemed to be a lot of scary rules about what you can wear, and a 4000 word disciplinary procedure. Moving past that, I try to enter a race. What club are you in? Err, I scroll down the list and find out the BikeRadar website is an affiliated club. I’m in the Strava group and have used the forum. That makes me a club member right? Well it seems to work (within the framework of logical rules set by the website programmer) to get me an entry, but I thought I’d better drop the ‘club secretary’ a line and double check I wasn’t extracting the urine… So, I pick a few races not too far from home, negotiate with my incredibly supportive and tolerant wife on which dates I can make, download a training plan from Strava and put some work in.


2 weeks later (yes, first lesson learnt before you say it) I’m driving down to the Quantocks on a drizzly muggy September morning. Not really nervous about the race (the fleeting joy of there being absolutely no expectations from yourself or others, imagine that!) but somewhat nervous about the scene. I’ve even brought a plain grey rash vest in case I’m told my Planet X jersey doesn’t meet with the extensive regulations. I ask about it at the sign in. The smiley gent behind the Formica pop up table in the village hall just chuckles and says they might care about that sort of thing at the Nationals, but we’re not too worried. And that sets the tone from there on in really.


Non cycling friends (and plenty of cycling friends for that matter) say the same thing when I tell them what I’ve been focusing on this autumn. What, and you actually ENJOY that? Well no, I don’t think for that 2-10 minutes of racing any of us are actually enjoying ourselves. But everything else about this scene is great! What I have discovered, is a relaxed, welcoming, friendly and most importantly really supportive community of people. There’s a steely competitive undercurrent no doubt, but there is most certainly a camaraderie and a lot of well-vocalised mutual respect. You might reasonably imagine it would be quite elitist, but you’d be wrong. And what could be better after a race than a well-deserved cake (on a good day) and a lukewarm cup of instant coffee. Whilst loitering on a damp roadside verge, or in an almost equally damp village hall, waiting for the results and the prizegiving, it’s a great opportunity to find out more about other people’s stories, listen to their advice and their find out about their dreams of athletic attainment . And of course, why they could have gone a bit faster, if only…


I’d say I’ve made a few new friends over the course of the past six weeks, I’ve enjoyed the challenge and seeing the fruits of ones labour, and I’d recommend it to anyone. Not on the basis that it’s enjoyable, but it is incredibly rewarding. Thanks must go from all us competitors  to all the race and series organisers. These are the kinds of folk who are the backbone of every form of sport. They’ve willingly given enormous amounts of their personal time and energy to create, sustain and develop this sport. And let’s not overlook the work of genius that is the WTTA series master spreadsheet. Thank you.


So what next. For me, last weekend was my last race of the season and I’m keenly watching and cheering on (in spirit, although not in person)  those from our local scene who will be flying the flag for the West Country in the Nationals waaay up north next weekend. I have butterflies for you all just thinking about it now. Next year, I’ll be doing this again for sure, and more of it. I have a year to get ready, so maybe a better training plan, probably a few hundred quid spent on Chinese carbon fibre, and almost certainly not a better diet, although I’ll try my pathetic best to cut down on the hydrogenated vegetable fat. And one eye on the Nationals 2018, hoping it will be on a 5 minute + course within a 2 hour driving radius of Bristol!


And what of the BikeRadar club? Well, Reuben’s unnecessarily apologetic but very clear email setting out that it’s just a set up for employees to test equipment in TTs confirmed that I was, as I always knew in my heart, extracting the urine. So I’ve joined Bristol Road Club. And the conversion to full roadie is complete. Except for the legs. The hair stays.

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I was very excited to return to the WTTA hill climb series after an extremely enjoyable 2016 series. I spent the summer training my hill climb legs with efforts up the Westbury sub Mendip and burrington combe climbs. The series was a big target for me.

The competition this year was huge with massive turn outs at all the hill climbs I attended. There was also a much more competitive field in the junior category which made for some very competitive (and painful) racing.
The events were well organised and great fun with huge crowds on the roadside to make you go even deeper to the line. The competitors were all very nice and I enjoyed the social side of the events as well. 
I was very pleased to set some personal bests while racing the series and cant wait for the 2018 events!

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Album - Additional Photos

Junior & Vet winners at the 2017 WTTA Hill Climb Series


Name Club Cat Overall Points
1 Phil Stonelake Bristol Road Club Vet 575
2 Gordon Markus Severn RC Vet 558
3 Ben Wainwright Team Tor 2000 (Kalas) Juv 519
4 Geoff Ware Minehead Cycling Club Vet 369
5 Jim Beales Dursley Road Club Vet 358
6 Harry Tucker Sulis Scorpians YCA Juv 306
7 Mark Brock Team Tor 2000 (Kalas) Vet 273
8 Andrew Diffey Somer Valley Cycling Club Vet 253
9 Andy Stuart Velo Club St Raphael Vet 247
10 Steve Thomas Dream Cycling Vet 233
11 Wiebke Rietz 1st Chard Wheelers Vet 205
12 Anthony White Royal Dean Forest Cycle Club Vet 198
13 Neil Reynolds Winchcombe Cycling Club Vet 192
14 Jacques Coates Performance Cycles CC Jun 189
15 Ben Turner Wellington Wheelers Cycling Club  Vet 188
16 Lee Musto Minehead Cycling Club Vet 170
17 Steven Cottington Bath Cycling Club Vet 158
18 Marc Allen Swindon Road Club Vet 157
19 Jon Leonard 100% ME Vet 149
20 Dylan Leonard Wellington Wheelers Cycling Club  Jun 142
21 Gareth Jones Clevedon & District Road Club Vet 142
22 Paul Winchcombe Chippenham & District Wheelers Vet 134
23 Rob Nash Bristol South Cycling Club Vet 129
24 Danny Axford Arctic Tacx RT Vet 117
25 George Kimber CS Dynamo Jun 116
26 Louie Priddle Mid Devon CC Jun 112
27 Morgan Curle Bristol Cycling Development Squad Jun 109
28 Jamie Dene Welwyn Whs  Jun 108
29 Andrew Kelly Somerset Road Club Vet 101
30 Tristan Davies One and All Cycling Juv 101
31 Oliver Chatting Team Tor 2000 (Kalas) Juv 98
32 Andy Winterbottom Somerset Road Club Vet 97
33 Steve Clarke Bristol South Cycling Club Vet 97
34 Maryka Sennema Paceline RT Vet 96
35 Simon Thexton Performance Cycles CC Vet 95
36 William Ryan Team Tor 2000 (Kalas) Juv 95
37 Simon Warren Norwood Paragon CC Vet 94
38 Corey Bale CS Dynamo Juv 93
39 Justin Gage Velo Club Walcot Vet 93
40 Stephen Chmiewliski Team Tor 2000 (Kalas) Vet 93
41 Rowan Ellis 1st Chard Wheelers Jun 92
42 Stewart House Arctic Tacx RT Vet 92
43 Hugh Ball Somerset Road Club Vet 91
44 Jon James Mendip Cycling Club Vet 91
45 James Pittard University of Bristol Cycling Club (UOBCC) Jun 90
46 Louis Cox Team Tor 2000 (Kalas) Juv 90
47 Marco Matano 73 Degrees Bicycles Jun 90
48 Dan Martin Thanet RC Jun 89
49 George Southon Team Tor 2000 (Kalas) Juv 89
50 Jim Ley Paceline RT Vet 89
51 Roy Slide Velo Club Walcot Vet 87
52 Txema Garcia Trowbridge Cycling Club Vet 87
53 Mark Cox Team Tor 2000 (Kalas) Vet 86
54 jonathan corp Bath Cycling Club Vet 83
55 Chris Crowther Army Cycling Union Vet 82
56 Lee Morgan Team Bottrill / HSS Hire  Vet 82
57 Jon Ashby Sid Valley CC  Vet 81
58 Will Acworth Bristol South Cycling Club Vet 80
59 Stephen Toogood Minehead Cycling Club Vet 79
60 Tom Price Chippenham & District Wheelers Jun 79
61 Dave Entrican Exeter Whs CC Vet 78
62 Graham Smith Severn RC Vet 78
63 Lisa Greenfield Radeon-Bike Science RT Vet 78
64 Chris Laurie Bath Cycling Club Vet 76
65 martin wiltshire Somer Valley Cycling Club Vet 75
66 Harry Woodman Velo Club Walcot Jun 73
67 Liam Abbotts Crewe Clarion Whs  Jun 71
68 Steve Wiltshire Somer Valley Cycling Club Vet 70
69 thomas stimpson Salt And Sham Cycle Club Vet 70
70 David Wilson-Evans Bynea Cycling Club Vet 70
71 Daniel Godfrey Minehead Cycling Club Juv 69
72 Richard Jewitt Bath Cycling Club Vet 69
73 Ralph swallow South Western Road Club/Evans Cycles  Vet 68
74 Tommy Barlow Clevedon & District Road Club Vet 68
75 Tommy Barlow Clevedon & District Road Club Vet 68
76 Richard Boulter Minehead Cycling Club Vet 66
77 Matthew w Minehead Cycling Club Vet 65
78 Vincent Graham University of Bristol Cycling Club (UOBCC) Jun 65
79 Aileen Brown Bath Cycling Club Vet 64
80 Martin Shapland Exeter Whs CC Vet 64
81 Ben Davies Somerset Road Club Vet 63
82 Fiona Vallis Bath Cycling Club Vet 63
83 Harry Edmund Trowbridge Cycling Club Jun 62
84 Lawrence May 100% ME Vet 62
85 Simon Hodgson Bath Cycling Club Vet 62
86 Ben Woodland North Devon Wheelers Jun 61
87 Laura Lawson Romford Cycle Club Vet 61
88 Nick Burton Newark Castle C C Vet 60
89 Wayne Reeder Tanks Direct Cycling  Vet 59
90 Ian Mountjoy Bristol South Cycling Club Vet 59
91 Robert Adams Bristol South Cycling Club Vet 57
92 Gregory Ashley Team Jewson - MI Racing ~Poly Pipe~McCann  Vet 56
93 Fin Walter Minehead Cycling Club Juv 53
94 Luke Smith Bristol South Cycling Club Vet 53
95 Mike Egan Minehead Cycling Club Vet 52
96 Neil Smith Bristol South Cycling Club Vet 52
97 Hannah Rainger North Devon Wheelers Jun 51
98 John Gregory Somer Valley Cycling Club Vet 51
99 Andy Owen Wellington Wheelers Cycling Club  Vet 50
100 BoB Symons Salt And Sham Cycle Club Vet 49
101 Steve Rosser Somerset Road Club Vet 49
102 Chris Doyle THE Cycle Studio~Core Telecom~RPC  Vet 46
103 Dave Harmer Weston Wheelers Cycling Club Vet 46
104 Ian White Salt And Sham Cycle Club Vet 45
105 Matthew Barber Bristol South Cycling Club Vet 44
106 Benjamin Kettleborough CS Dynamo Juv 43
107 Marcus Abbotts Crewe Clarion Whs  Vet 42
108 Shaun Duffield North Devon Wheelers Juv 41
109 Steven Macdonald Bristol South Cycling Club Vet 41
110 Jacob Thomas Exeter Whs CC Jun 40
111 Rosalind Willicombe Minehead Cycling Club Vet 37
112 Matthew Young Bristol South Cycling Club Vet 36
113 Diane Wilson-Evans Bynea Cycling Club Vet 35
114 Michael Collins Bristol South Cycling Club Vet 34
115 Sean Dale Minehead Cycling Club Vet 33
116 Ed Trenchard Bristol South Cycling Club Vet 33
117 Anne Bennett Serpentine Running Club  Vet 32
118 David Braidley Bristol South Cycling Club Vet 32
119 Emma Spriggs Taw Velo  Jun 31
120 kirsty bennett Bristol South Cycling Club Vet 30
121 Andy House Bristol South Cycling Club Vet 30
122 Jason Willicombe Minehead Cycling Club Vet 29
123 Tony Emery Dursley Road Club Vet 29
124 Tyler Lindo North Devon Wheelers Jun 28
125 Janet Hewlett Minehead Cycling Club Vet 27
126 Peter Rogers Team Tor 2000 (Kalas) Vet 27
127 David Francis Alltrax  Vet 26
128 Paul Charman Farnham RC Vet 24
129 David Poole Somerset Road Club Vet 23
130 Finlay Webb Exeter Whs CC Jun 22
131 Margaret Greatorex Minehead Cycling Club Vet 21
132 Andy Webb Exeter Whs CC Vet 20
133 Robert Jennings Weston Wheelers Cycling Club Vet 0
134 Simon Holder Kingfisher Triathletes Vet 0
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