A time trial up a steep hill. That’s all it is really: an autumnal ride (the short hill climbing season takes place in October) of unimaginable pain. It’s well-established in Britain as an end-of season test of form. But in 2017 the Red Bull Bay Climb was launched up the insanely steep streets of San Francisco, so perhaps hill climb time trials are gaining some global traction.
There are numerous hill climbing races in Britain: the hill climb up York’s Hill in the southern English county of Kent is reportedly the oldest still-running bike race in the world — the first event took place in 1887. The final 100 metres of this crazy climb have a gradient of 25%. In 2018, the British National Hill Climb Championships are being held at Shelsley Walsh in the county of Worcestershire (yep, the sauce is still made there). This is also a well-known regional venue for motor sport fans.
This episode of Rapha’s Roadside series features a short portrait from inside the world of hill climbing rider Joey Walker, son of former top British pro rider Chris Walker, as he prepares for the famous Monsal Head race.