On riding the National and not doing as well I’d hoped

Thanks to everyone who said nice things. Today i’m more circumspect; I did my best and came 34th. I’d like to have done better but it didn’t happen on the day. It’s been a really good season and i’ve particularly enjoyed the hill climbs, especially those I rode fixed. I may lower my expectations next year. Maybe that’s the key; harness the power of diminishing returns, embrace the dying of the light and that way you end up perennially satisfied. Riding the National is a success in itself.

It’s been great to ride with the other westcountry hill climbers over the past 6 weeks; Charles Coleman, Ben Davies, Glyn Griffiths, Marc Allen, the usual suspects. They are all really friendly people and it probably stems from the shared solidarity of mutual suffering. With the much bigger fields the sport seems to having a bit of a renaissance.

I’m currently drinking trappist rochefort beer and eating chocolate cake made by Belle.

Here are some photos:

a fast-closing pete tadros just out of shot
Pete Tadros on his way to 9th place
Ben Davies battles the elements, the hill, and himself: chapeau
the worthy winner
Richard Handley, fresh from the ToB.

8 thoughts on “On riding the National and not doing as well I’d hoped

Add yours

  1. You did well Paul, don’t be too hard on yourself. Though I understand how you feel.

    I only came across your blog a short while ago, must say I really enjoy your writing and look forward to more.

    Enjoy the beer and cake.


  2. Great race pics. It’s been lovely reading your blog and Tejvan’s too. If I was a TV man I’d put the national hill climb championships on TV. I was excited yesterday even though I was nowhere near the climb!

  3. Thanks as usual for the blog and pics. It’s a funny old game, I could have written a few posts with that title myself in previous years. Also, another thing the pics show – with closed roads it doesn’t matter riding on the wrong side of the road to get the shortest line. But, when you’re so used to riding on the left, it’s hard to break the habit of a lifetime.

  4. Don’t beat yourself up Paul, you performed very well. Now you may think you should have done better and only you can tell, but that was a tough field of riders, even tougher conditions and its what happens on that particular day.

    Reading your blog and Tejvans over the months, you have, had a great season against some of the best climbers around, so take the positives, don’t lower expectations, work on any weaknesses you think you may have and go for it next year.

    Great blog, love the photo comments and tell us what training you will be doing over the winter.

  5. The Stang was brutal fella! Tejvan deserved to win a national! Well done dude!
    The only issue is the length of these climbs and them then not being ‘spectator friendly’. After saying that the 27th would not have been spectator friendly anyway! can’t remember the last time i saw water being blown up a hill?!
    But it was interesting how it affected some riders performances?

    Re being spectator friendly…the courses would have to be no longer than 1 mile or so…and that is how they used to be. It is only in recent years – The CAT, Cheddar Gorge, Long Hill, and now the Stang where the climbs are longer. This is an issue for the governing body, and i for one am not going to comment greatly – old men with long grey beards slap bans on anyone who over steps the mark!…though as I’ve just about given up now, here goes…

    Top 10 best climbs for a National (inc spectator friendliness!):

    1. Tinker’s Monument, Jackson Bridge.
    2. The Rake, Ramsbottom.
    3. Chimney Rose, Yorkshire.
    4. Pym’s Chair, Goyt Valley.
    5. Luddendon Foot, Halifax.
    6. Pea Royd Lane, Sheffied.
    7. Winnats Pass, Castleton.
    8. Monsal Head.
    9. Bank Road, Matlock.
    10. Crown Point, Burnley.

    Next maybe an up date on Tony Bells 10 best CTT Hill climbers!…x

      1. Yep! A couple of our juniors are already up for that! We’ve just got to persuade a very dis – heartened J.Boy to ride – he got 21st out of 130 at Monsal, but was all out of sorts at the national – needs to get his mojo back! re Winnats – think it’s something to do with the National trust?
        Pea Royd will be a good one for fixed – steel is real and the only way forward is fixed!

  6. Nice write up Paul. I share your disappointment. I rank Sunday as one of my poorest performances in approx 70 climbs. Still, once I stop sulking about it I can look forward to next year and Pea Royd. I’m going to ride fewer HC’s next season – I think the 12 I did this Autumn was too many for an old man.
    Keep pedalling and blogging chief.

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