2011 Catford & Bec Hill Climbs
11th Oct 2011 Posted in: Sport 0
2011 Catford & Bec Hill Climbs

After the fun watching the 2011 Urban Hill Climb in London a couple of months ago and after seeing some of the fantastic photos that ace snapper Mike King took at the Catford Hill Climb in 2010 we just had to go along this year to soak up the atmosphere and stick the camera in the faces of a few gurning riders!

I’d originally planned to cycle the 40 miles to the Catford Hill Climb on Sunday morning but after being up until gone 3am watching the superb Ironman World Championships live video from Hawaii I was almost too tired to wake up at 6:30am let alone get out the door on the bike. Never mind.

Sharon and I jumped in the car and headed to Yorks Hill in Kent for the 116th Catford Hill Climb event. This is the oldest continuing cycle race in the world – first organised in 1887 – when 24 starters tacked Westerham Hill in Kent. Yorks Hill is short and sharp – 707 yards with two sections of 1 in 4 (25% incline). It’s tough.

Spending a few quid on a cup of coffee, a programme and also making a donation to Sean Conway who is training to cycle round the world (!!!) this was an absolute bargain for the entertainment to be had. Standing on the sides of a steep hill screaming and shouting at the poor sods who are trying to get up to the top in around two minutes was brilliant fun. As the morning went on more and more people came onto the hill and the atmosphere was superb. We loved it.

Once the action was over (shortly after midday) we headed off to White Lane (near Westerham, Kent) for the Bec Hill Climb, which started at 2pm.  Many of the riders from the morning were here at Bec for another dose of pain and suffering.  Likewise many of the supporters also made the trip to White Lane to cheer and support again.  Similar to the Catford Hill Climb this is around 700 yards long with a section of 1 in 4 incline just before the finish.

With £1000 up for grabs for the quickest rider competition was tough – people were using customised track bikes with limited gearing and brakes in order to keep the bike weight as low as possible.  It was serious stuff.

The final rider to set off at 3:25pm was defending champion Germaine Burton of Team De Ver Cycles.  He’s a junior rider and absolutely stormed his way to the top of the climb.  Better still, he took first place again and pocketed some good hard cash!

Both Sharon and I took a number of photos which can be found at the Catford Hill Climb and Bec Hill Climb online albums but I have to say I really like the one that’s at the top of this post – Doug Gray of GS Avanti getting lit up by the flash of another photographers camera whilst looking, er, rather cautious of the climb up ahead at the Catford event!

Finally, there’s a fantastic video showing some of the atmosphere of the Catford event over at Vimeo.  Well worth a watch.

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