Race Report: BUCS Hill Climb 2012...Confused

Perplexed, annoyed and relieved. Those three words seem rather juxtaposed, but that’s kind of how I felt about my result from Saturday’s BUCS hill climb championship at Curbar Gap.

I came in with a time of 06:28, which was 21 seconds slower than last year, and a long way off the pace of the best riders, who were clocking in times around the 05:50 mark.

I say perplexed and annoyed because I’m not really sure what went wrong. I’ve had a strong season and have been going reasonably well on the hills if the CRC Mountain Bike Marathon and the Seven Hills Killer was anything to gauge it by. Rather than being overly disappointed with my result, it was more a case of confusion, much the same as when you get a piece of coursework back that you think was good, and then it turned out to be a C grade.

So I tried to pin it down on the long drive back from the Peak District. It could have been expectation; last year it was such an unknown of how I would do, and as a result there was no pressure at all, although that seems unlikely as I normally cope with pressure OK. It could have been that last year my France and Spain Touring Trip placed put me in better stead preparation-wise than I thought it had, although that seems unlikely as the Mountain Bike Marathon and the riding that I did in September was pretty hilly this year.

I think it more likely that I haven’t done enough in the past month; or rather, I haven’t done enough of the right kind of training in the last month. Since the Seven Hills I’ve pretty much just been doing commuting, a few turbo sessions and longer rides at the weekend. What I should have been doing was continuing with the very hilly rides and hill repeats from the very end of September.

So there it is, post-mortem complete. Could have. Should have. Would have.

If I want to do some more hill climbs next year, I know what to do; and hopefully with a job and a car, I can get to a few more and not just do one a season.

It was good fun though, despite the mediocre result, and was certainly a good break from studying. More than anything there is a bit of a wave of relief that the season is over; it’s been a long one, and a very enjoyable and rewarding first one on the road. I’ll write a blog post in the next few days about how many of my 2012 Objectives I completed and what has been shunted over to next year.

Right. Time for a beer.


  1. Tim, sounds like a definite lack of specific training, learn from it that's all you can do. I remember back in 1997 I came back from 2 weeks in Cyprus, no cycling and a lot of recovery, with the vectis hillclimb cup up ventnor then cowleaze on same day only two weeks after. Went and did Ventnor day after I got back, flat out, didn't even make it to the top, hyperventilating. So for two weeks I just rode varying intervals up and down cowleaze for half hour sessions; probs ten sessions. Come race day I absolutely nailed it, won both easily and pb'd. Specific and recovery, probably the most defined improvement through training I've ever experienced. Its generally working for cross this season too, my only rides are specifically geared to short fast accelerations and threshold work. Recovery is paramount between races.

  2. Thanks Sean, fantastic advice. That's what I'll be aiming to do a lot more of next season I think, it certainly seems to do the trick when done correctly.
    Looks like your cross season has been going well again this year, might have to diversify and try a bit of Cross next year myself, quite fancy it.

    I'm back on the island in December, let me know if you're around, would be great to meet up for a ride to catch up. Cheers.


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