So, Red Bull Hill Chasers last weekend, a 20s hill climb up Park Street in Bristol but I’m sure most of you reading this already know from the onslaught of social media! You’ll probably know I came second too, winning a rather grand silver bike.
It’s funny these sorts of events. Back in November when us racers are planning out our seasons, looking at races to target, something like Hill Chasers wouldn’t enter my mind. They are a branch from the cycling circle; organised by brand managers rather than old boys with clipboards and as such are viewed light-heartedly. The thing is, the inverse is true of those outside that circle. To those watching, who may even get off their bikes at the bottom of Park Street, what they are seeing is the height of cycling ability. Secondly, with a main objective of getting maximum exposure rather than recouping costs, the event is a real spectacle and everyone wants to know about the ‘light-hearted’ event.
I may be rambling here and this hasn’t stemmed from anyone talking down the results, just how I’ve seen them in the past. The glory they bring almost works me up because they are not real races; not what we train hours for and sort of deflate the races we do care about. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the event and think it is excellent idea, coming second is a result I will keep high in my morale bank although I wish I could call myself king of Park Street! Red Bull and Charge put on a real show and I gained a bike out of it rather than a pair of socks and less £20 for the privilege. I read some 6,000 spectators saw the event and where all my thinking leads me is, how can we get cross-country racing to be such a spectacle? Hopefully events like this which bring the disciplines together and bring them to the public will provide the foundations.
The title of this post isn’t really suiting to it yet is it? I’ll try and make up for that with some graphs. It really came about as I didn’t attend the after party. I had training and work to do the next day and whilst I could have got up at late, training would have come first and work wouldn’t have happened.
I was almost out of the race in the first heat. I hadn’t got my race head on and was practically smiling my way up Park Street. I think I got through by 0.4s. Andy was at the event and suggested middle ring in order to keep on top of the gear and spin right from the gate. I was hesitant with my ‘Big-Ring’ nickname but it turned out to be a great technique. I could go straight from the gate rather than having to wind it up. I had my Powertap, not because I wanted to geek out on my stats (although I did), but because I didn’t have any other wheels with me. Needless to say, I re-populated the lower end of my CP graph! I’m pleased with my results and data. These sort of short sprints have never been my thing (I don’t think I would have made the heats a while ago) but I have been working on them in training.
I’ve included plots of each of my heats below. My peak 5s effort was just over 1.2kW over the event.Heat 1 Where I was almost out was my lowest average for the hill: 864W for 20s. Heat 2 I took to the front from the start and held (shown by steady plot) it with an average just under 1kW.Heat 3 I was behind for the first chicanes but was still pushing it; my highest power average in this heat: 1035W.Heat 4 Against Cobble Wobble winner Lewis Lacey, he got the hole shot and I found myself having to slow down at the chicanes (two troughs in plot). Average was still around 929W, I think as I had to give a burst in the last segment to get around him. Heat 5 (Final) Ben got the hole shot but I was still pushing 1.2kW for the first third of the climb. I miss shifted half way up, expecting a gear change and it didn’t come, this is shown by the big dip. I picked up again to 1kW but was way down. I don’t want to use this as an excuse. As I said I honestly believe Ben was flying that day and the best man won.