Hill climbing is a great test of a cyclist’s strength, power and stamina, all rolled into one fast and frenetic spectacle. The build-up to the Varsity hill climb saw careful preparation, with many of the team riding out to the course in the build-up to work out their strategy and test their legs. The chosen venue was the Monsal Hill climb; the climb is short with varying gradients, making it suitable for power riders and climbers alike.
Race day dawned overcast but with forecasts predicting sun it was sure to be a great day. The ride-out to the climb was punctuated by a very high-spirited Jerome Jacob, and his motivational if somewhat over the top pep talk got us ready to give Hallam a run for their money.
UOSCC’s Robin Groves kicked off proceedings, putting in an early mark of 2:03 which was swiftly beaten by another Uni rider, Tom Stewart, who made light work of the course in a rapid 1:19. Stewart’s mark proved insurmountable, standing all afternoon with only Uni’s Jamie Caldwell and Clem Berrill and Hallam’s Phil Wilkinson coming close. Uni’s Rob Ricketts, put in a solid 1:30 to challenge the sponsored riders and round out uni’s top 4 riders.
Once everyone had finished, the times were added up for the top 4 riders from Uni and Hallam. The Uni boys were all confident that we’d done enough and sure enough the results sheet showed a comfortable 42 second win for the uni team! Team photos, congratulations and commiserations followed, with Dave Camus being forced to the back of the photo to hide his thoroughly un-professional mountain bike shorts.
A minutes silence was later held in commemoration of Hallam rider Ollie Doy who died earlier this year. The gesture showed the true sporting respect between the two universities and reminded everyone present of just how lucky we all were the share this event together; the event was dedicated to Ollie.
All in all, a great day out: the sun shone, we beat Hallam and the Albaya express even managed to do his run, despite snapping a spoke and having to ride all the way back home to get a new wheel to do the climb!
WE ARE BLACK AND GOLD!