Looking back at old Otley Cycle Club open Hill Climb start sheets shows that many riders try a hill climb or two, then come to their senses and disappear from the hill climbing scene. It seems only the die-hards come back for more punishment year after year. But even those new to this peculiarly British pastime can be easily smitten, Otley Cycle Club’s Andrew Bolton being one of them.
Phil Hurt, prolific organiser for the famous Yorkshire Road Club and for the Yorkshire Cycling Federation, has promoted the Yorkshire Hill Climb Points Competition for several seasons and Andrew decided he would ride all 10 of the hills in the series this year – our own open event on Guise Cliff and Norwood Edge provides two of them – to give his first foray into hill climbing a real kick start.
The final three events took place the third and fourth weekends of October. The first of those was the Drighlington BC event on Saturday 15th October. The course was the V9917 on Scotchman Lane, Batley. Andrew finished in 4:36.9. The winner Kieran Savage of Team B38 Underpin Racing, 2015 Junior National Hill Climb Champion, rode to a course record of 2:47.8. A report courtesy of CTT and Snowdon Sports available here.
The following weekend, many riders endured two hills on Sunday 23rd October. The first of those was Huddersfield Road Club’s event using the V999 Ripponden Bank. Andrew’s time for his ninth Hill Climb in the series was 6:15.1. Andy Cunningham of All Terrain Cycles was fastest in 3:41.2. CTT & Snowdon Sports have published a report on this also.
In the afternoon riders tackled England’s longest continual ascent at 4.8 miles, the Cragg Vale Climb (V9916) at Mytholmroyd, actually ridden twice in the series, it being the first and last hill, starting it off 28th June. Andrew’s June time was 22:54.6 and he comfortably beat that with a 21:11.4. Gill Arnett also rode , recording 22:59.3. Andy Cunningham of All Terrain Cycles secured another course with a 14:07.7. All finishers were rewarded with a bottle of beer for their efforts, kindly supplied by Little Valley Brewery in Hebden Bridge.
Andrew finished 10th overall in Yorkshire Hill Climbs Points Competition with 554 points and was the only rider in top 20 to have ridden all 10 hills. Sam Ward was 20th with 426 points having ridden four hills only. Kieran Savage was the overall winner for the second year in succession with 716 points. Final Points Standings.
Andrew’s to be complemented on completing the series, particularly as he suffers from ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis in which there is long term inflammation of the joints of the spine. This obviously doesn’t stop Andrew riding his bike, something that can help ease the condition. See the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society webpage for more information.
But Andrew’s not finished yet. He’s secured a reserve place for the National Hill Climb Championship taking place Sunday 30th October on the AHC/6 Bank Hill course a Team Matlock. Why not go along and cheer the riders on their gravity-defying rides? It’s always A Grand Day Out, although we can’t promise you Wensleydale cheese!