Video: What’s it like to ride the National Hill Climb Championships?

Ever wondered what it's like to ride a hill climb? Wonder no more...

The hill climb season is a uniquely British affair. Running for approximately six weeks, from mid-September to late-October, riders pit themselves against some of the toughest climbs in Britain in a series of uphill time trials.

Imagine a regular time trial ratcheted up to 11 – a short, sharp test of rider against the road and Britain’s challenging topography – and it all culminates in the National Hill Climb Championships.

There’s only one way to ride a hill climb – hard, fast and with searing pain in your legs and lungs. But how hard, how fast and how painful? This on-board video from last week’s nationals, featuring Courtney Blockley-Campton, provides a unique insight.

Watch Blockley-Campton as he takes on Bank Road in Matlock, a 0.6-mile climb with an leg-stinging average gradient of 11 per cent and maximum gradient of 20 per cent.

Blockley-Campton powers away from the start line and quickly gets his cadence up to around 90 rpm – with his power sitting consistently north of 500 watts throughout the 2:37.5-minute effort. The Lutterworth Cycle Centre rider’s heart rate peaks at an eye-watering 198 beats per minute.

Blockley-Campton’s ride, cheered on by hundreds of supporters lining the road, was enough to earn him 29th place on the day, finishing just under 20 seconds behind Metaltek-Kuota rider Adam Kenway.

And what does the aftermath of an all-out hill climb effort look like? Here’s Blockley-Campton as he needs help from his bike and to the side of the road, gaspsing for air.

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