Last Monday members of the Lewes Wanderers Cycling Club set off with a mixture of fear and apprehension as they faced the prospect of the annual hill climbing competition.
The stunning scenery of Firle Beacon was of little consolation to the riders as they set out to lift their bodies on the agonising ascent of the Beacon where gradients reach thirteen percent. The climb is tough enough even if approached conservatively, to add the cruel piquancy of racing against the unforgiving timekeeper is another matter.
Hill climbing is something of a specialist event, the first requirement being that your power to weight ratio needs to be high. This favours the reed like profile; those with a more robust nature face six minutes of unrelenting pain as they haul their protesting bodies to fight against the universal force of gravity.
Light men rule the hill climbing world, this year in the svelte form of young Tom Baker whose intensive training for the event paid dividends as he sliced nearly thirty seconds of his previous best time to gain his first club win in an impressive time of 4:27.4, placing him ahead of Phil Allen (4:30.6) and Rob Rollings (4:47.4). The fastest rider on the day was Richard Cartland of South Down Bikes who posted a time of 4:07.08, one of the fastest times ever recorded for this formidable climb. The Vet’s competition was won by in form Peter Baker followed by Paul Gibbons and Dan Street.
Three Lewes riders, Rob Pelham, Dominic Lowden and Nick Dwyer rode in the Prudential Ride London event trying to outrun the tail end of Hurricane Bertha. Rob reported that he really enjoyed his ride, noting that even though he got thoroughly soaked that at least the rain was tropically warm. All three riders safely completed the 86 mile course which had been shortened to omit the climbs of Leith and Box Hills for safety considerations.
More information of all club activities and events can be found at www.leweswanderers.co.uk