Taking Will with me to take photographic evidence and give moral support, we arrived at the car park by the reservoir dam. As I dragged the bike out a bloke in the car next to me said in a joky voice 'There's a hill climb on here tonight. You should be having a go!' 'I am.' I answered. 'What, on that??' 'Er, yes.'
I soon found myself on the startline ready for the off. I was so keen to get registered that I ended up number 1. At least it gave all the club lads on their sexy road bikes something to look at as we all got devoured by the swarms of bloodthirtsy midges that thickened the air.
The climb kicks up as it nears the top and by now I was feeling something akin to a panic attack. This had to end soon or I would surely collapse. Then the cruel trick of a sharp turn at the top and still a steep climb. Later I remembered hearing someone there saying 'No, it is him!' which I thought was quite funny. Finally I was off the agonising climb and I could at last sit. I forced myself into an 'aero' tuck and clamped my hands on the bars as close to the stem as I could. Head down and spinning fast. The road curves sinuously here past a small lay by before another climb. It looks so innocent when you drive along it, but not now. At the top of the short rise I could see the finish line marshals opposite the end of Georges Lane. Spin, spin, spin, knees a blur. I crossed the line and coasted a short distance before literally dumping the bike on the grass verge and standing, back bent, with my head down towards my knees. My field of vision was going a bit black round the edges, my lungs on fire. After a short while to compose myself I tottered unsteadily to the finish line for a brief chat with the marshals as the next rider came in.
I tried to work out how far he was behind me, given that he'd set off a minute behind. My brain was still oxygen starved and just wasn't up to the task so I just thought 'At least I didn't get caught.' I rode back down to the start and shouted encouragement to riders coming through. I got the impression from their expressions that this wasn't the done thing in hill climbs. Ah well.
A day or so later the results were posted on the Horwich CC forum. I wasn't last! In fact I was 10th out of 13 competitors. I know that sounds a bit lame but believe me I was bloody pleased with that. I had deliberately made it hard for myself by doing it on a completely unsuitable bike and I'd pretty much held my own. Now that the memory of the total pain and suffering has faded slightly and my asthmatic cough has abated a bit, I am thinking about doing the other 2 events in the mini series. I went through absolute brutal, masochistic hell on the first one so why deprive myself of the 'fun' of more of the same?
Big thanks to Horwich CC for putting the event on and to all the marshals for risking death by midges.
Details of Horwich CC events here.Results:
Adam Newall 9.35 Horwich C.C
Rob Richardson 9.45 Bolton Hot Wheels
Dave Headon 9.52 Horwich C.C
Luke Dearden 10.00 Chorley C.C
Paul Ashcroft 10.35 Lancs R.C
Simon Moore 10.47 Horwich C.C
Guy Mckenzie 10.53 Horwich C.C
N Pope 11.10 Lancs R.C
Dave Bateson 11.12 Horwich C.C
Simon Fox 11.17 Here Come The Belgians
Gareth Prosser 11.54 Horwich C.C
Shaun Taylor 11.55 Horwich C.C
Alan Sweatman 13.12 Horwich C.C
Photos by our Will (who must have been pissed).