Early season hill climb shocker

This evening was the Dursley Road Club hill climb on Stouts Hill near Uley. It’s a tough climb to get right, but is a super event. I rode out from Bristol with Kieran in order to get some more miles and training in, which all told, probably wasn’t the best way of preparing for the event itself, but was a good way of preparing for other events in the far off distance. I made a bit of a schoolboy error by riding really hard on the climb out of Wootton-Under-Edge, dropping Kieran and really getting the pulse racing. I also got the lactic acid pumping around the legs, from which it never really left. Kieran normally drops me on the really short climbs because he’s a total puncheur.

Since the 10 hours act in 1833 the children of Dursley have been left in search of gainful employment during daylight hours. In the absence of a functioning cotton industry or Manufactories they are often left alone for hours on end, creating a sense of inertia, a lackadaisical attitude to life and a general sense of malaise. The good citizens of South Gloucestershire and the Parishes of Uley, Wootton and Dursley, have solved this enforced indolence by sending the young to ‘work’ on the hills in the late summer months. As soon as they are old enough to reach the pedals they are expected to participate in an annual endeavour known to bring grown men to tears, cause sudden and violent sickness and a cataleptic response amongst some participants.

In the absence of the pit, the children are now sent up the hill instead, in order to work for their supper and build character. this young man awaits his ordeal with good grace.

They are not allowed to use machines that somehow might alleviate their task and enable it to be over more quickly – they must learn their craft and serve an apprenticeship, using antiquated technology from the pre-industrial era, including ‘all terrain bicycles’ made with pudlocks and scaffolding tubing.

Derek Smetham, who rides for Dursley and also Avonlea Treasure RT is allowed to ride a space age ‘Trek’. He has served his time on the hills and is now elevated in the parish hierarchy. He also pulled a mighty performance out of the musette. He climbed the hill in 5.08, a huge PB and not that far off the course record.

Derek mullers it, to great effect.

In contrast, I went a second slower than last week, despite riding gears. I think i got the pacing slightly wrong, but also was a bit below par because of the ride out. The Dursley were quite scathing about my performance, albeit in a light-hearted way. Penny said I was ‘slacking’. She has a point; i need to work harder and i need to lose a bit more weight. I’m currently about a kilo and a bit over race weight.

Struggling with both the incline and the concept of having 22 gears instead of 1.

I wore Rollapaluza Club Kit this evening. This is on account of them sending me a lovely jersey and a cap after i produced their educational materials. It’s very nice kit. Rollapaluza do some fantastic work in schools and it is great to be involved in that, however small my role might actually be.

Rollin’ with the homies

It’s been a salutary evening: onward and upward… more hills, less food.

good work – a new PB.

Back in the Space Helmet

Normality has returned. I’ve been seen wearing a space helmet whilst perched precariously on a bike that looks like an alien. Yesterday i headed off to Gillingham to ride their absurdly hilly ten mile time trial. I was looking forward to it. I even factored in some time to ride the course before hand so that i wouldn’t miss any turns and thus get lost and miss the chance of a win and a course record and all that jazz. The fatal flaw in this otherwise perfect plan was that during the warm up lap/pathfinding mission i managed to miss a turn and end up somewhere strange in the Dorset countryside, utterly lost, with only confused and blinking yokels offering utterly useless advice. I missed my start time having gone 7 miles in the wrong direction. Nevertheless i managed to do a hilly 17 miles at about a 23mph average. I was racing to get back and hopefully get a ride, but by the time i did make it back the timekeepers had moved to the finish. Ed Pitt said it even trumped the time i went off course in a hardrider and ended up 9 miles adrift; at least it was in a race that time. I had my suspicions when i found myself hooning it up Malmesbury high street in full aero bongo amidst some bemused and startled and very middle england shoppers. Meanwhile down at the lake the BSCC were knocking out PBs like frantic schoolboys sequestered beneath a grubby duvet with a copy of Razzle.

By way of recompense i headed out to the graveyard tonight for the Dursley evening 10. It’s the only way. When times get rough and the course gets confusing, the graveyard beckons. It was a blowy old night, fast out, revolting back. I smashed it to the turn at around 31mph, then grovelled my way back, just clinging on to my aim of a 28mph ride for a 21.29. It’s very much in the right ballpark and makes me feel positive because i’m clearly riding well, hiatus or no hiatus. Ed Trotman and Ed Pitt were both there, doing the usual thing, namely smashing their PBs to little pieces. Ed’s had quite a week. he has been upping the gear inch by inch and is now on 110″ or so. He started the season on 84″ or thereabouts. At this rate of improvement he’ll be on a 208″ by hillclimb season.

trotters leaves it all out on the road.

This weekend i have a road race. I shall be seeking to try and overturn my 100% DNF/DNS record. It is a training ride for the rank misery that is the Colin Carfield Road Race in about two weeks time.

falfield, AKA the graveyard

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