Matlock CC Hill Climb – Bank Road

On Sunday afternoon it was the Matlock CC Hill Climb on Bank Road. It was an afternoon event, which was held after a earlier morning Hill Climb on Riber Hill also organised by Matlock CC.

Prior to the event, I converted my track bike to comply with the CTT rules. The main one being to have a front brake fitted. This set up would be lighter than my road set up with all the components stripped back.

With the Hill Climb starting at 2pm, we were there for 12:30 giving plenty of time to get ready. On arrival to Matlock Town Centre we turned a corner to find Bank Road in front of us which to be honest took me back a little at first sight.

Track bike after being altered with handlebars and front brake fitted
Bank Road as seen when coming from the Matlock town centre

Driving up the course, which was a shorter version than what will be used for the National Championships on Sunday, we found it was a changing gradient which got steeper as we went up, with the steepest part being close to the finish which was a left turn just outside a car garage.

On arrival to the HQ which was just around the corner from the start line, I got myself ready and rode the climb a couple of times. When I arrived back at the car, for a couple of reasons I decided to go with the road bike, with the main reason being that the gear I had on my track bike would be slightly to big and less efficient to use vs the road bike which offered the gears and the opportunity to alter if needed. Usually I would not be overly fussed with this, however with it being the first time I had raced the event I went with what I felt to be the safe option.

Just outside the HQ before the start

I was off at 2:11pm, I started in the 39-17, which was a good gear for the start and earlier part of the climb. However during the second half it was much to big and I found I had to change up into the 19 which was was good until the last part where I opted to to stick with it rather than change again to save time.

On the way up Bank Road During the Hill Climb
On the way up to the final section of the climb

Despite my cadence slowing down for the last and steepest part of the climb I think 39-19 or an equivalent of this would be the gear of choice to start with and one to stick with. Especially if I was doing the longer version of the coarse as the gradient gets shallower after the right turn.

After a cool down and a ride back down to the HQ I went in to see what my time was. I managed to ride up in 2:12 which took 32nd place. The winner rode in 1:48, who was Joe Clark of Envelopemaster. The top 11 was made up of everyone who rode under 2 minutes.

At the finish line of of the Bank Road Hill Climb outside Matlock Green Garage Repair Centre

It was another day where I had done a PB which was 540w for 2 minutes. After a short calculation if I wanted to get myself under 2 minutes, I would  approximately need another 45w to get there. I would then need another 45w on top of that (approximately 90w total) to challenge for the win which would be a total of around 590w for 2 minutes. Also noting this would be at my current weight and the road bike set up I was using. To work out how much time saving could be made losing weight off the bike would be a calculation for the future.

I would be wary about losing any body weight as I have found that, despite riding a bit heavier than normal at the moment to aid with my recovery from the road season at 11% body fat, I am prone to losing absolute power when going under 10%. This would mean it would be counter productive to do so, albeit if I wanted to be peaking for the event I could be 1kg-1.5kg or so lighter.

With all this in mind, I am happy with the result and very happy with the performance. It is also something I can and am looking forward to building on.

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