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Rider comments

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WTTA hill climb series

Having won the series last year, retaining it was a big target for the end of my season. The level of competition has really stepped up this year though and I was going to have my work cut out!

I managed to hit a PB in every round, winning 4 of them and that was enough to win the series overall again.

This year saw the biggest women's fields to date. These are always the friendliest events and by the end of the season it feels just like hanging out with a group of friends each weekend (just with a painful few minutes of uphill riding thrown in!) we're already planning some rides over the winter, which will involve less racing up hills and more cafe stops!

The women's results are getting closer and closer. One round saw only 1.5 seconds separating the whole women's podium, and it's really great to have that level of competition to keep things interesting.

Huge congratulations to Alice and Heidi for their 2nd and 3rd places in the series. A really strong result from both of them in their first year of racing hill climbs!

I'm sorry to see the season end, and already looking forward to an even bigger and better one next year!

Just one last thing to do this year. National championships up in Northumberland this weekend. The women's field looks incredibly strong. I'm hoping to better my 15th place from last year, but it's not going to be easy!

Screen shot 2017 10 27 at 14.12.10

Was it a big target?

-         Not exactly, I think it’s worth mentioning that I’m incredibly new to cycling as a whole having started in July of this year. The hill climbs were therefore the first time I’ve ever been on a bike with a number on my back and my participation largely resulted from Joe’s encouragement and a fairly competitive streak! I liked the idea of participating with no expectation for what I would achieve and being able to set a benchmark for future years to measure my progress against!

-         Overall the series went really well, though that is certainly in part a feature of being one of the few women participating in enough climbs to qualify for the series-hopefully we’ll see more next year! I managed my first ever brown envelope for coming second in the series as a whole, but being a position off Jo Jago across the series really doesn’t do justice to the minutes she put into me over the last few months. I’ve totted this up as a measure of just how strong she is (and an entertaining procrastination from work) and over the 7 climbs we both competed in it totals 9 minutes and 36 seconds. I’ll try harder next year. To put that in perspective, Jo could have done the team tor climb twice and still had >2minutes to spare to be faster overall. Chapeau.

New friends and new competitors on the scene

-          I have really enjoyed the atmosphere at all of the hill climbs. The support I’ve received from other competitors both male and female has been brilliant and I’ve met some lovely people along the way who I’ll hopefully head out cycling with soon for some more cake filled/less hilly cycling adventures. It’s been especially nice to meet other women training and competing and the more experienced cyclists have been amazingly supportive.

Target for nationals

-         I’ve got two targets for nationals. I’ve managed to embarrassingly topple off my bike before the start of both the Belmont HC and at Chippenham. Somewhere in the mix of nerves, excitement and distraction approaching the start I have a habit of forgetting to unclip, or managing to unclip the wrong foot (let’s just remember I’m an absolute newbie). Thankfully up until now Joe’s been around to prevent me from hitting the deck but one aim for Sunday is not to repeat this trick

-          The second aim is not to come last, if I manage that one I’ll be delighted, but if I don’t I’m not so worried. At the moment I’m trying to focus on competing against myself and setting benchmarks for the future. Perhaps last at nationals would make a good story.


Also would like to give a huge thanks to you Glyn for organising and any/all bits of encouragement along the way/prods to encourage me to think about competing. I’ve really enjoyed it and will hopefully be back next year!


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For me, completing the series was a big undertaking. I usually work on weekends so I had to plan ahead and consider which events I could enter. Fortunately, hill climbs are short and don't take up much of the day so it's possible to work them around other commitments.
It doesn't cost a lot to enter the WTTA Series events, so my strategy was to enter them all and do as many as I could. 
This was my first season and I think it went pretty well. I was delighted to achieve 3rd woman. After each event I had mixed feelings because I always felt I could have done better but had to remember that it was my first season and I was still learning.
Highlights included Minehead CC (Porlock Toll Road) because it was a closed road climb and the field was huge. Unfortunately I was sick the night before and felt a lack of energy but the atmosphere was brilliant and unique. Also, the Bath CC climb at Hinton was memorable because I managed to encourage 3 of my fellow Specialized Ambassadors to enter their first hill climb.
The standard of competitors was quite high and I was initially a bit aprehensive. After a couple of events I realised I wasn't that badly placed among riders with more experience than me. I started to meet others who were similar in ability and we all supported each other. The riders at a higher level than me were inspiring to watch and talk to.
I've made lots of friends during the series, infact this was an unexpected bonus. I got to know Alice Thomson quite well because we had both decided to do the series for the first time. It has been lovely to share the experience with her and meet for a ride.
Jo Jago is in my club (Sodbury Cycle Sport) and had eluded me on a club ride for 2 years. Entering a hill climb seemed like the only way I'd ever meet her! She's been really encouraging and supportive throughout the series.
Gordon Markus let me have some of his coffee at Porlock whilst I was bothering him during his warm up. He's been a friendly face and fellow van dweller at each event. He's full of tips and advice and always happy to chat.
I didn't enter the nationals. I decided to use the series as a learning experience this year and aim for the nationals properly next year. I'm going to get back to some long rides over the winter months and train in a more structured way next year with the Series and Nationals in mind.
I'll be cheering Jo on from afar, hoping she can smash it for the ladies!
Heidi Blunden

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Album - WTTA Hill Climb Series - Women


Name Club Overall Points
Joanne Jago Performance Cycles CC 486
Alice Thomson DRK Racing 440
Heidi Blunden Sodbury Cycle Sport 351
Frances Bromley Buxton CC/Sett Valley Cycles  323
Anabell Orenz North Cotswold CC 300
Hannah Slade Chippenham & District Wheelers 285
Alice Earle VeloVitesse/ALLCAP/James Barry/Johnson Controls – Hitachi  284
Kate Baker Performance Cycles CC 226
Louise Hargreaves Salt And Sham Cycle Club 208
10  Wiebke Rietz 1st Chard Wheelers 205
11  Emily Slavin Tri Team Wessex 164
12  Nancy Walker University of Warwick Triathlon & Road Cycling Club 146
13  Heidi Blunden Sodbury Cycle Sport 126
14  Maryka Sennema Paceline RT 96
15  Elizabeth Banks Fusion RT Fierlan 83
16  Lisa Greenfield Radeon-Bike Science RT 78
17  Aimee Parsons Velo Club Walcot 74
18  Jessica Evans ASSOS Equipe UK  72
19  Becky Dodds Velo Club Walcot 71
20  Helen Parkin Woking Cycle Club 68
21  Kate Mactear University of Bristol Cycling Club (UOBCC) 67
22  Ashia Fenwick Velo Club Venta 66
22  Gillian Clark Road Club Cumbernauld & Kilsyth 66
24  Elizabeth Wheeler Bath Cycling Club 65
25  Aileen Brown Bath Cycling Club 64
26  Lucy Rowe DRK Racing 64
27  Fiona Vallis Bath Cycling Club 63
28  Abby Easter Velo Club Venta 61
29  Laura Lawson Romford Cycle Club 61
30  Molly Hodges University of Bath Cycling Club 60
31  Emma Cockcroft Bikeshed Bianchi 58
32  Jessica Woolley Bristol South Cycling Club 58
33 Isabella Murray University of Bristol Cycling Club (UOBCC) 55
34 Hollie Hindley University of Bristol Cycling Club (UOBCC) 53
35 Hannah Rainger North Devon Wheelers 51
36 Lavinia Cox Bristol South Cycling Club 38
37 Rosalind Willicombe Minehead Cycling Club 37
38 Harriet Parke Bristol South Cycling Club 37
39 Lucy Poole Exeter Whs CC 36
40 Michaela Spitzer Minehead Cycling Club 35
41 Diane Wilson-Evans Bynea Cycling Club 35
42 Anne Bennett Serpentine Running Club  32
43 Emma Spriggs Taw Velo  31
44 Kate Gordon Bristol South Cycling Club 31
45 kirsty bennett Bristol South Cycling Club 30
46 Janet Hewlett Minehead Cycling Club 27
47 Margaret Greatorex Minehead Cycling Club 21
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