The many many readers of these exceedingly well crafted entries will have noticed a considerable upturn in the number of posts talking about “training”. One of the things I was “training” for was the John Bornhoft memorial Hill Climb (Kingston Wheelers) up Leith Hill.
I did this last year and as it’s local to me and I’m lazy, I decided to do it again this year.
Last year was interesting because I managed to rope in a load of clubmates to come along and cheer, though more honestly it was to provide navigational skillz.
This is me from last year.
This is me from this year.
I’ve had a shave, lost some weight, and the weather wasn’t as good. That and I was 15 seconds quicker last year. I was pretty disappointed, and I’m still a bit gutted to be honest.
I didn’t get on top of any of the gears I tried, my legs felt heavy. I’ve got a tonne of excuses for this. Thursday night activities, feeling ill on Friday, not trying hard enough, getting old, not enough willingness to kill myself, lack of ability.
Nothing really felt right, I couldn’t get going, I couldn’t hold a “pace”, and I lacked the ability to find the right gear.
I remember starting and feeling calm, not my usual “nervous horse in a starting gate”. I remember pushing off quite well, then it all just went to tits. I was up and down the block trying to settle in, the wall on the right hand side acted as a marker of sorts. I moved up to the big ring at one point and then back down, up the little ramps, then I saw someone ahead of me. I thought, in my addled state, it was my minute man. But then they moved over to the side of the road and dived into the crowd on cowbell corner. Bollocks. I was hoping to use them as my motivation. Someone shouted “go on Damian” as I got round. Then I looked to go on again. It was quite painful at this point. My legs were solid, my breathing was definitely off the charts, and then I looked at my garmin to see what time I was on.
And then I saw the finish line was a lot further away than I remembered. I did as much as I could to keep it under 5 minutes. I also swore. Loudly.
This guy won again. And then went and won the next day at Porlock. I didn’t stick around on Saturday to watch Tejvan tear up the hill again. I should have, he broke the record (his) on the course .
The event itself is brilliant, there was a slight mechanical for one of the riders I was starting with. They got it sorted out and luckily convinced the timekeeper they could have another go (club member benefits I guess!). There were loads of people from Kingston Wheelers, a lot of nice bikes, a free cup of tea, and an amazing flapjack to get me home.
It’s definitely one to visit again, the village it starts in (Forest Green) is lovely. There’s a house on the way to the climb that was covered in a climbing plant of some description. The red of the leaves, due to autumn (winter is coming), was beautiful.
The ride back to the station in the rain less so.