UOSCC at the BUCS Hill Climb Championship 2011 – Sponsored by Sport Sheffield and Leisure Lakes Bikes
It was a bright and sunny start to Saturday 29th October 2011, which was just as well. As the University of Sheffield Cycling Club were about to tear up the BUCS Hill Climb!! Road Captain Jerome Jacob was dropped off 2 hours earlier than everyone else (in the Batts-mobile) to set up the gazebo so he was particularly happy with this meteorological development. Oh, what an awesome spot we nabbed (see it in the picture below behind the start line)! Never one to shy from the event, UOSCC signed 19 racers up to the event (almost 1/10 of the overall field). The clubs positioning right by the start line was intimidating to say the least, as all the other Uni’s were forced to pass the feared Black and Gold as they went to take their starting position. Curbar Gap is between 5 and 15 minutes long dependent on ability and it hurts like hell. What a notoriously gruesome race it is.
So everyone met at the Arts Tower at 10:15 to leave at 10:30, with a very steady slow pace being set by The Albaya Express to ensure every KJ (provided by Leisure Lakes Bikes) would be used on the hill-of-pain and not on the way out. Needless to say, fresher Joe Drane was running late… As Uni arrived to their stronghold including all 7 turbos, it became apparent that it was their day to shine. All the riders had a 40-minute slot on the turbo before they raced, which ensured adequate warm up time was available to all – a real advantage in this game. Nothing a bit of turbo-skewer-banter could displace.
All 5 women and 14 men put in great efforts, however it was fresher Clem Berrill who really stole the show as he finished joint 5th overall with a resounding 6:02. Joe Drane made up for being late by being a great 6:48, only 7 seconds behind Captain Jerome ‘Va-JJ’ Jacob who got the Uni’s 2nd quickest time of the year with a beautiful 6:41. A time that should inspire UOSCC’s riders of the future as Jerome has knocked several minutes of his first attempt and almost a minute off of last years time.
Other impressive 6-minute riders included Adam Dunajko and John Albaya who were fighting it out for quickest ‘older persons’ time with Dunajko off form this year as he nailed a 6:28 last year. The Albaya Express has lost a lot of weight recently, thus improving his power to weight ratio brilliantly.
Jacob Storey was disappointed with his time (so is one to watch next year) although he beat newcomer Ed ‘Femidom’ Walker to the post by a whole second! Others in the 7 minute territory were Luke ‘Flash Gordon’ Bennett (just watch him pose), Rob ‘Scurvy’ Ricketts and Alex Longfellow whilst XC Captain Robin Groves just pipped the 8 minute mark – a great improvement on last years time. Zach Smith did well to get a 7:39 after recently being involved in a collision with a car, having tonsillitis and for racing on his heavier winter bike after the car incident wrote off his beloved machine.
Hopefully by next year Will ‘Hench’ Swain will have proper cycling shoes after riding the race in everyday trainers and still nabbing a cheeky 8:36. Perhaps the most improved rider though, goes to 30 year old Chris Neal who gave up smoking and lost a lot of weight to smash the 10 minute mark by an incredible 43 seconds! It just goes to show what some decent hill reps and correct training can do. A truly epic day by the Mens team from the University of Sheffield where the winning time of the day was 5:37 set by Leeds’ Henry King who was seeded first after coming second by only 2 seconds last year.
Alice Miller followed a rather unconventional training plan, of riding mainly indoors, prior to the race this year. However, it can be said to have worked as she nabbed 13th out of the 33 women who entered with 8:43. The other female riders: Lucy Harris, Nicky Shaw and Hannah Beezer did well to finish mid-table with times in the 9 minute zone and Zoe Smart took a day off of the court to come and ride the lactic acid inferno.
Sheffield Hallam were embarrassingly bad on the day with both Sheffield 1st’s and Sheffield 2nd’s mens absolutely wiping the floor with the dirty Hallam scum in the team rankings. A BUCS point was gained from both UOSCC’s Men and Women’s teams as both secured 8th overall out of the 38 and 13 teams entered overall, respectively.
Perhaps the highlight of the day though was having the marshalls of the day: Andrew Cater, Dave Camus and Danny Whitehead, along with Dave’s brother dressed as a Santa running alongside every single Uni rider at the top to ensure there was no lactic tolerance left once the line was crossed and that no seconds were lost. EPIC, it was!
However the day wasn’t over yet. As after the results and a free pint in the landmark The Bridge Inn, the team headed home to quickly shower and get looking pretty, before heading up to the Rajput Indian in Crookesmoor. The food was delicious and the banter ripe, where we packed the restaurant full of Sheffield’s hottest young cycling talent. Had half the team not gotten food poisoning and the staff been quite so obnoxious it would have been perfect, however the company was excellent and a speech was made by Jerome who is quoted as saying “What an emotional day we’ve had together, and what a bright future this club holds”.
Naturally, this led to a non-student-pub bar crawl taking place after the curry, where the lads (including ‘Powerhouse’ Simon Powderham) tore up the disco at The Springvale, were given quad vods for the price of doubles at The Closed Shop, sang karaoke including ‘Living la vida lycra’ with Stevie G at The Hadfield and got started on in the infamous outlaw establishment known as… The Star & Garter. Wow, what a place.
Then Bar One was sieged upon before the lycra-lovers headed on up to Scary Tarts, where shenanigan after shenanigan occurred. Epic, epic, epic. UOSCC rule the roost!
It’s worth noting Uni were without 2 of their strongmen this weekend; Tom Stewart and Jamie Caldwell and so who know’s what might have happened. Yet perhaps the most exciting fact is the prospect of Clem Berrill, Joe Drane, Luke Bennett, Jacob ‘LADder’ Storey, Ed Walker and Rob Ricketts all getting 6 minute times next year with top 10 places a real possibility and if Berrill doesn’t win it next year or the one after, I’ll eat my casquette.
(A big thank you to Chris Batts for his endless driving, to Duncan Philpott for filming the event and to photographers Andy Cater and Andy Frost for capturing the day).
. (Written by Jerome Jacob)
5= Clem Berrill 6:02
39 Jerome Jacob 6:41
48 Joe Drane 6:48
53 Adam Dunajko 6:51
57 John Albaya 6:57
65 Jacob Storey 7:05
66 Ed Walker 7:06
76 Luke Bennett 7:10
103 Zach Smith 7:39
108 Rob Ricketts 7:43
111 Alex Longfellow 7:55
113 Robin Groves 7:59
128 Will Swain 8:36
135 Chris Neal 9:17
13 Alice Miller 8:43
17 Lucy Harris 9:02
20 Nicky Shaw 9:05
23 Hannah Beezer 9:17
32 Zoe Smart 11:56