Yesterday I took part in my first competitive cycling event: the annual Two-Stage Hill-Climb competition organised by my club. For the uninitiated, it’s a time trial event – riders start at one-minute intervals and race against the clock. In this particular event there are two hills, you race up each in turn and your combined time for both gives you your overall result. The first hill is long and steady (4 miles, average gradient 4%), the second is short and sharp (1.1 miles, average gradient 7%, but hitting 20% near the start). The club is based in Allendale in the North Pennines – ideal hill-climbing country.
For a first go I think I did alright, especially after taking a lot out of my legs on Saturday. Having not done this sort of thing before I didn’t really have a sense of how hard I needed to push on the first climb, and I think I could have gone harder.
I think its fair to say I’m not a time-trialist/competitive hill-climber. One of the great things about cycling is that there are lots of different ways to enjoy it. Personally I prefer riding all day at medium intensity to riding for twenty minutes at full-gas. I’m glad I took part and I’d like to do it again next year to see if I can improve, but I don’t think these kinds of events will be something I do very often.
It was a big weekend of cycling and I was pretty tired by the end of yesterday, but I feel encouraged that I’ve successfully completed two very challenging events powered only by plants.