A 12 rider strong squad went to tackle the first, and arguably most challenging, BUCS cycling event of the year in the Hill Climb. The hill for this year’s event, Mam Tor (1.3 miles, average incline of 10%), was new to not only the entire cycling squad but BUCS for competition use. Relying solely on physical ability, the Hill Climb is one of the most traditional and simplest events on the cycling calendar; the fastest person up the climb wins!
Given the time of year, the team was surprised to arrive in the Peak District on the Saturday morning to dry, moderately warm conditions as the summer weather continued into Autumn. This ensured that it was going to be a very competitive day on the hill. The women’s race was first, and it was a BUCS competition debut for all five (and first race ever for two) of the squad. In what was a very competitive 52 rider field, the team achieved very credible results, particularly first year students Madeline Gammons and Melissa Baker who broke into the top 15.
The men’s climb was the next event, and was exceptionally well-contested as a number of former winners and favourites for the National Championships the following weekend featured in the 193 riders. Unsurprisingly the course record was broken multiple times during the day as the favourable weather conditions helped riders maintain strong average speeds. In such an experienced and competitive field all the men acquitted themselves admirably considering all but one were competing in their first BUCS cycling event, gaining invaluable experience to take into the rest of the season. Birmingham’s top men’s finisher was club captain Ollie Hayward, who finished in 29th place.