Cycling Weekly - - WELCOME - SI­MON RICHARD­SON Edi­tor si­mon.richard­son@ti-me­

Ev­ery year I think to my­self, “maybe I’ll race some hill­climbs this year.” I’ve al­ways been a fan of rid­ing up hills and there are plenty in the coun­try­side around me to train on.

You don’t need to do hours and hours of en­durance train­ing for hill-climbs. There are crowds at many of the events and the sea­son is only a few weeks long. They are per­fect for sat­is­fy­ing that com­pet­i­tive urge with­out mak­ing too big a com­mit­ment.

Then I am re­minded how much it hurts. Rid­ing up hills is great. Rac­ing

mates up a hill on a ride is even bet­ter. But

rac­ing hill-climbs is some­thing else en­tirely.

I have done a few hill-climb events. Ev­ery time, I started re­gret­ting it as soon as I rolled up to the start line. I could sense the metal­lic taste of blood in my mouth be­fore I even started. The self-doubt was even worse: Am I go­ing too fast? Am I go­ing too easy? Is this the right gear?

The in­ter­nal mono­logue only stopped when I screamed “why am I do­ing this?!” in my head.

Then there’s the hill-climb train­ing. That’s even worse. Push­ing your­self to the point of col­lapse when a num­ber is pinned to your back is tough. Do­ing it on a turbo, on your own, in a garage is nigh-on im­pos­si­ble.

So good luck to every­one rid­ing the na­tional hill-climb champs this week­end. I hope you en­joy it.


20 Der­byshire hill-climbs rid­den

28 In­ter­view with Tao Geoghe­gan Hart 38 Smart tur­bos tested and rated

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