Rake Hill Climb 2016 ……. All Terrain Cycles Rider Andy Cunningham takes part

25 October 2016
The day after the Holme Moss Hill Climb I travelled to Ramsbottom to compete in The Rake Hill climb, one of the oldest on the calendar. This is very similar in terms of steepness and length to the course for the national hill climb champs in Matlock this year as a result most of the favourites turned out. Added to this Lancashire Road club were also offering equal prize money for both men and women which made a very large field of over 120 riders.

The climb starts very steeply leaving the town before a false flat section leading to the “real” part of the climb 200m+ reaching 25%. The road is so steep there is actually a hand rail presumably for old women walking back from the shops. There is always great crowds here which really helps push you through that final section. My plan had been to ride really fast through the first part of the climb then hang on here but for whatever reason it didn’t really work for me. I felt very comfortable on the steep part and when i wasn’t in any distress at the finish I knew I hadn’t invested enough. Still good enough for 9th on the day which wasn’t what I hoped for but still held a lot of optimism for the nationals having still been amongst the big hitters when I knew i could have gone much deeper.

Last weekend I did two events over in Lancashire. On Saturday It was Nelson Wheelers event on Annals Cross in Barley. A steady 3-4 minute climb averaging 7%. A nice cross tailwind made me confident of going for Mike Cummings course record. Unfortunately a rider collided with a car whilst warming up on the hill breaking their wrist. This meant the road had to be closed and the event moved further down the road to a very steep 0.5 mile climb averaging 12%. I managed to just sneak first beating Chris Dyke from Manchester Wheelers by two tenths of a second. Sunday was North Lancashire road clubs hill climb on the Nick o Pendle. This is a very famous climb and has hosted the national championships on several occasions. Whilst warming up in the car park the heavens opened before brightening up as soon as the event finished! Was really happy to take another win in this one beating a strong field including putting 20 seconds into 5 times national winner Jim Henderson who was defending his title from last year on this climb. Yesterday was Huddersfield Road Clubs hill climb on the short, steep Ripponden bank. Tough little climb this which was made harder by a greasy, leafy surface and a stiff headwind. Just edged Kieran Savage by half a second to take a 3rd win in a row! After this I nipped over to Mytholmroyd for Yorkshire Road clubs hill climb/TT on Cragg Vale. Having initially not been really looking forward to this with it being more suited to TT rigs than road bikes I really fancied giving it a good go. The wind was mostly cross tail on the climb which probably negated the benefit you’d usually get from a time trial set up. I set off really fast on the steeper, lower slopes and thankfully still had the legs to push on through the long steadier top section. When I crossed the line I knew I’d knocked a bit off Tejvan Pettingers course record but had a nervous wait to see if Kieran Savage had managed to go even faster.

As it turned out he was inside the old record too but thankfully still 10 seconds off my time of 14.07…