Stratford CC Hill Climb – Dover Hill

Yesterday I went to Chipping Campden to ride in the Stratford CC Hill Climb. This was to be my first open Hill Climb and I was not expecting it to be easy. Riding up Dovers Hill, which has been used for the National Hill Climb event 6 times, has an average gradient of 14%.

Driving up the circuit before the start, I decided it was definitely going to be the 39 ring all the way up to the top. I noticed it was a long climb however, and one which might not be entirely suited to me, and suit the stronger time trialists.

The start for the event was just heading out of the village on Church Road, and was a 2 minute ride from the HQ. My start time was 10:41. Speaking to the timekeepers at the bottom, they advised that a good time would be between 4 and 5 minutes. I decided to take this advice and based my effort on 5 minutes long and go for 400w which would be a PB for this duration.

Sticking with this pace whilst getting up the climb, it was becoming extremely hard in the later parts, especially the last minute where my legs were almost numb with the pain. The climb was also relentless and did not let up anywhere except for the last section where it flattened out a little bit.

On arrival at the top I managed a time of 4:43.9 and an average power of 398w, which was exactly what I asked for. It was enough to take 17th place on the day. I could not be happier with my effort, which gave me a new personal best for a 5 minute power after I stopped the clock a little late.

On reflection, I maybe could have lost a bit of time coming to the finish as I could not kick on, where I might have been paying for a stronger first part of the race, and struggling in the later part. Overall though it was exactly what I wanted and hopefully I will be able to build on the effort and take it forward.

During the Hill Climb up Dover Hill; Photo credit Mick Stallard.
Photo credit Mick Stallard.
At the top of Dovers Hill.
At the bottom of Church Road, close to the start line.

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