a journal - cycling, sociology, social media

Sunday 27 October 2019

End of season silliness with Muckle CC

Last Sunday I spent the morning at a hill climb in Northumberland, I didn't ride it obviously, I am in all honesty fairly stupid but no not that stupid. I was there to support my friend, training partner and talented hill climber Hannah Farran of Team Boompods at the final race of her season ... and to get some blog content obviously.

Hill climbing for those who are not familiar with the event is a niche activity in a niche sport and is a cycling event unique to the UK and is quite simply a time trial up a hill. Chris Boardman sums up the hill climb well in the introduction to the excellent book: A Corinthian Endeavour: The story of the National Hill Climb Championship by Paul Jones.

'The hill climb is a wonderfully social, spectator-friendly event providing a seasonal focal point and transition in to the off season. I think they will always be enjoyed primarily by a passionate minority, but they are part of our cycling heritage and I hope they continue to be so for years to come. Not everything has to be about winning and beating the rest of the world; some things can and simply should be enjoyed for their own sake and perhaps the hill climb should be cherished in this category, something more or less unique to us.' 

Hanna going through her structured warm up on the turbo, Prospect Hill near Corbridge in Northumberland is approximately a mile long and very steep and with a series of corners, the road is narrow and as a good proportion of the hill is under tree cover is covered in leaves in places. With the road surface getting rougher the nearer you get to the top it's a tough challenge for sure, one that Hannah expected to complete in just over 5 minutes.
Hannah on the line on her HC prepared Cervelo and ready for the pain to begin, she was bang on target with a 5.12 but had to settle for second place on the day after a flying Grace Inglis of the host club rode a suberb 5.08 to take the win, while top spot in the men's category went to David Huck of Barrow Central Wheelers.

First competitor to take to the start line looked like he had travelled down to Northumberland from north of the border, I didn't catch his name but someone thought it was Wallace ... William I think ? brave though, lot of heart.

What particularly impressed me about this competitor was his meticulous attention to colour co-ordination from his head band right down to his Velotoze !
In the Fixie/MTB/Fancy Dress category where anything goes as long as its not a road, cyclo-cross or gravel bike the guy above was seriously quick. Up to the first corner (visible in the picture below) he looked to be as fast as any of the previous starters, really impressive, not sure what happened after he went out of sight, but if there had been a prize for the fastest first 300 metres the Fat Bike Guy would have definitely been in with a shout.

Comparing painful moments afterwards, above is Hannah chatting to Alex Ingham of the AIMS Cycling team, by his own admission Alex is not a hill climb specialist by any means, so why bother ? Well Alex is also the MD of MI Supplies and Muckle CC had recently ordered their club leisure wear from his company so he thought the right thing to do was to turn up and support their hill climb, even though it meant 120 mile round trip, for a 5 minute event, nice gesture that I thought.

Someone else who travelled a fair distance to be at the hill climb was top cycling shooter and great friend of north east cycling Darran Moore, if you want too see some great action pictures from the day check him out on Facebook Darran Moore Photography or on Instagarm @darran_moore_photography. Darran is an ever present at races in the north east all through the season and the time and effort he puts in along with the quality images he gives away without charge is hugely appreciated by everyone in the region and rightly so.

There was great atmosphere in the HQ as the results were calculated and it seemed like everyone and their supporters had stayed around for the prize giving, although the fantastic free buffet may have also had something to do with that. Muckle CC are a club that have only been around since 2015 but they are an enthusiastic bunch who have quickly established a reputation for putting on great events that are a little bit different from the norm. The club regularly have a strong presence in the regions road races and criteriums and are a great an example of what a cycling club with good ideas and an up to date outlook can achieve.

Winner of the over 82kg category above Lewis Wake of Team Kirkley Cycles looking very happy with his prize ... a meat pie obviously, did I mention that the boys and girls at Muckle CC like to things a bit differently ?

Final pic of today and an acknowledgement and a thanks to some new partners who will be supporting both the blog and my racing next season. I will be training and racing in custom kit designed and supplied by Yorkshire based Raceskin and wearing helmets and eye wear from R2 - Ride your race I am also looking forward to a productive collaboration using wheels from CES Sport. I feel really fortunate to be working with these enthusiastic partners in 2020, exciting times ahead.

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