Monday, 11 October 2010

Catford and Bec Hill Climb reports

Living in London means that popular local events are quite well-attended, and the iconic Bec CC and Catford CC (oldest bike race in the world) hill climbs yesterday didn't disappoint. Soaring temps of nearly 20 degrees and full sunshine helped, I'm sure!

Edit: the Guardian has since showcased a cool Catford audio slideshow and London Cycle Sport featured a video by VC Elan rider Mat Pennell.

Catford climb on Yorks Hill

First up was the Catford climb, which starts with a draggy shallow bit and steadily ramps up and up to the final 200m which is grindingly out-of-the-saddle steep. I'll admit I was quite nervous before the start as the top woman's prizes were a good haul (Rapha softshell jacket and Condor-donated Mavic Huez shoes worth about £500 total). But in my good intentions to rest this week hoping for strong legs on the day, it appeared that I had actually over-rested as my legs felt terrible within the first few seconds. Ignoring the powermeter and everything but the road ahead (well, I did sneak a few looks at the elapsed time and distance before the road turned upwards), I just gritted my teeth and tried to hang tough.

As it was my first time at this race I hadn't realised just how much energy you get from the screaming Tour de France style crowds in the final minute. I'd held back just a bit too much before the finish, but when I saw the finish line with 20m to go I realised I had something left in reserve and managed to put together a good sprint for the line. In the end, this made the difference as I finished in 2:49.5, a mere 0.6 seconds ahead of the second-placed woman Juliette Clark. She wasn't to go for half an hour after me though, so that made for some nail-biting moments waiting for her result, as I was sure I hadn't done enough to win it. I was quite relieved to find that I had!

With the mini-camera mounted to my handlebars I managed to video my trip up Yorks Hill and capture the essence of the event: the narrow road, the huge crowds and my own agonised heavy breathing. Many thanks to all the supporters especially the dozen or so Kingston Wheelers who rode out to watch. At the time I could barely focus on anything but the road directly in front of my wheel, but looking at the video I realise how cool it was climbing through all those people.

Bec climb on White Lane

With the awards from the Catford race running late and my start at the Bec climb being early, I was in a rush and got to White Lane less than an hour before I was due to start. No time for a structured warmup on the turbo trainer, I headed out for a quick spin on the roads (praying for no tire punctures!) then went down to the start. This time I was determined to go off harder knowing I could dig deeper towards the top through the crowds. This climb was fairly steady at ~12% with only a steep bit in the final 100m or so.

About halfway up I was feeling the effort and stalling a bit but soon afterwards I saw Jim standing alone yelling and that spurred me to work harder. Up ahead I could see the streamers strung across the road and hear the crowds and the announcer saying I was headed their way. In my addled state (again, never having done this race before), I figured that was pretty close to the finish so I gave it as much as I could only to find that the finish was further.. and even further... and much further than I thought! After what felt like an eternity I saw the checkered board and limped across the line totally spent. But I felt 100 times better than in the morning race and knew I'd given it my all.

Again, though, I had to wait a bit to find out if I'd won, and again I only managed to snag first place woman by 0.6 seconds! This time to Deborah Percival, who had come third at Catford. Pleased with my performance and with my new power records (and hearing my name and time announced on the loudspeaker over and over as the leading woman until no other women were left), I got a nice prize packet of Rouleur hat, book,t-shirt and magazine. Oh yes, and a lovely subscription to Elle Magazine which I haven't decided yet what to do with.

Maryka Sennema #27
Where's that finish line? (Bec pic courtesy of Sylvain Garde from Addiscombe CC)

And the stats and graphs for those who like that stuff (btw, I believe the timekeeper was a second slow on the Catford climb, for everyone of course!)


Duration: 2:48
Work: 57 kJ
TSS: 9.2 (intensity factor 1.407)
Pw:HR: 10.46%
Pa:HR: 34.92%
Distance: 631 m
Elevation Gain: 79 m
Elevation Loss: 1 m
Grade: 12.5 % (78 m)
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 482 340 watts
Heart Rate: 124 181 168 bpm
Cadence: 61 115 81 rpm
Speed: 3.8 25.7 13.5 kph
Altitude: 117 195 156 m
Crank Torque: 0 64.1 40.5 N-m



Duration: 2:41
Work: 56 kJ
TSS: 9.6 (intensity factor 1.466)
Pw:HR: 5.03%
Pa:HR: 24.75%
Distance: 616 m
Elevation Gain: 81 m
Elevation Loss: 3 m
Grade: 12.7 % (77 m)
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 501 349 watts
Heart Rate: 132 178 170 bpm
Cadence: 52 103 81 rpm
Speed: 1.3 22.6 13.8 kph
Altitude: 170 247 207 m
Crank Torque: 0 88.8 41.0 N-m


1 comment:

Bianchista said...

wow fantastic! very inspirational.....
i saw a pic on the guardian website.... very impressed!