Author Topic: The Catford Hill Climb  (Read 1256 times)

The Catford Hill Climb
« on: October 13, 2008, 11:32:10 am »
When people set the routes for bicycle races then the question is it challenging gets used.   Routes get narrow roads, tight corners and hills, with the idea that it will make the action more interesting, and make the competitors work more, which will show who is truly great.
The Catford CC open hill climb, is an event with no tight corners, however it is on a little narrow road called Yorks Hill and is a very nasty little hill.

The course is only 707 yards long, every one of those yards is uphill at an average of 12.5%, if that wasn't bad enough the course includes 2 sections that are 25%.  (or 1 in 4 in old money)

Before the start of the event I walked the course, and frankly that was exhausting enough.   I studied the bends and the occasional message that had been painted on the road, so that I would have some clue about where things where steep and when I was close to the finish.  This struck me as sensible and a practically way of breaking down the mammoth challenge into completeable sections.   

Now Sunday was a nice sunny day, but it was still chilly on the tree lined route.  The road surface stayed damp, and even with people brushing the leaves out of the road, it was still a little slippery in places.  Before I had even set off, I had heard reports of people having fallen off their bikes while making the decent.     A decent that highlighted just how narrow and slippery and steep the road was, by the time I had made it to the bottom I was well aware of the mental effort that I had just expended.

Soon however my name was called,  I left the small throng of riders waiting to start, and I rolled up to the start line, a friendly chap held my bike upright on the line, as the timekeeper counted down the final remaining seconds.   

The next 3 minutes and 6 seconds of my life, only exist in a dream like state.  There are moments of pure clarity, and the rest is a haze of exhaustion, and struggling to get air into my lungs, wondering when and even if I would ever make it to the top.

So this is everything I remember:
I heard voices at the start from the other riders and officials wishing me good luck, for some reason, I even shouted back 'Thank You', I then realised that I had forgotten to zero my trip computer, so foolishly I quickly fiddled with that.
I glanced down,  I was doing 14 miles an hour, on the lower easier section, I remembered the few words of advice that I had gleamed from other competitors don't go too fast at the start, keep your breathing sensible, try and pace yourself.
I changed down a gear, and another, as the incline increased, then I realised that was it, I was in my lowest gear already, that was it, from now on all I could do was work my legs hard.

Then the spectators started, shouting, driving me onwards, I heard my name called, which helped encourage me to push harder.
I worried that I hadn't seen the smiling face which had been painted onto the road just before the last really steep section.
Then it was brighter, I was getting out of the trees and crossing the finish line.

I rolled to a stop, unclipped, and hunched over my bike as I tried to get my breath back and recover.  I had made it to the top, my efforts where over.

My efforts put me in 72nd place over all,  with the winner only taking 1 minute 54 seconds.    Quite someone achived that I will never know.   

Some photos of me are online:
<a href="">Effort</a>
<a href="">Me struggling through the crowd</a>

I also have posted some photos to flickr: <a href="">here</a>
Just someone's butler


  • Tyke
Re: The Catford Hill Climb
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2008, 11:36:47 am »
Well done to have completed it.  Hill climbs are just madness, but the sort of glorious, heroic madness that we do so well.
Getting there...


  • "If it ain't fixed it's broken"
    • My photos
Re: The Catford Hill Climb
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2008, 06:59:40 pm »
 If I had known you were there I would have looked out for you I was marshalling at the top opposite the time keeper, well done :thumbsup:

 my set is here;

 There is a set taken at the Bec hill climb as well
"Don't stop pedalling"

Re: The Catford Hill Climb
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2008, 04:10:16 pm »
I must admit that I don't remember much once I made it to the top,  I was to busy using my bike to help me stand up..  and trying to reasure people that I was ok, and not about to die.

Had I known you where there I would have said hello.
Just someone's butler

Re: The Catford Hill Climb
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2008, 11:59:35 am »

Sorry FWN, I didn't get a chance to chat - you were busy and I was in a little world of my own (as usual before a race - ehh, in fact most of the time so I'm told). I think we nodded to each other just before I went down to the start. I did see you Darkpoint, but didn't realise at the time you were a forumer.


  • "If it ain't fixed it's broken"
    • My photos
Re: The Catford Hill Climb
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2008, 08:34:30 pm »
 Hi Dave I thought I saw you milling about up there, well done for having a go, put me to shame.
"Don't stop pedalling"