2014 Windsor Hill Climb (HCC011) – Track Terminator Tommy Z tears up tarmac to topple Helpless Hippy


– Photo by Kulvinder Hambleton-Grey

A large field of riders was in attendance at this year’s West Drayton MTB Windsor Hill climb, inlcuding Willesden’s Ed Packard who’d driven for 2 hours just to suffer for 2 minutes. Good to see you, Ed. Let’s get that 12hr team happening!

The more the merrier might apply to rider and spectator numbers, but I can tell you it doesn’t apply to hill climbs, as I found out when I had to race up Windsor Hill a second time due to a timing malfunction on my first ride which meant no time for me. My legs were already toast but being a gutton for punishment I went again, clocking a pretty poor 2:16 I think. It really didn’t matter what my first time was though because Tom Zittel absolutely smashed it this year with a 1:4x (I’ll confirm times later). Well done man, top ride and it’s about time someone from Willesden rode under the 2 minute mark!

I’m not sure of any other times as I was too busy trying to force air back into my body to bother asking but it was good to see so many riders out. Now, some brekkie, before heading out for something I’m a bit better at – long TT rides.

2014 AAAnfractuous 200k Audax

AAAnfractuous Dirty Legs

Tucking into a lovely homemade curry now after getting around in just over 8 hours. My second audax can be nicely separated into two halves. The first half battling the elements and the second half battling my bike!

As usual I left the house late so had to haul arse to get to Chalfont. I still didn’t start until 8:30. The rain started shortly after that. My habit of wearing too little continued and I definitely felt the cold after being turned into a drowned rat. Next time I’ll bring a rain jacket or at least arm warmers, promise. Being cold did encourage me to keep the pace up though so I started to catch up with other riders. At the first proper control (The Waterfront caf? in Benson) I managed to leave my glasses behind so had to go back for them. Note to self – don’t put anything down at controls!

Off into the rain again and as it was quite exposed a lovely headwind. This leg to Wantage was a bit of a slog!

Into the Vale & Downland Museum caf? for a sticker and a couple of pieces of cake then back out for more rain – damn it was cold now! Pace goes up!

Around the 100k mark the route headed south and then swung around to head back east – beauty, now the rain had stopped and there was a tailwind to help out.

The next leg to Pangbourne and Little Henry’s Cafe wasn’t too bad but my crash-damaged (not on the audax, it happened years ago) shifters meant I couldn’t get my low gear. I was already over-geared on some of the nastier climbs so this was definitely pushing far too hard. Oh well, HTFU.

Stopped for a piece of Victoria sponge at Henry’s and as I’d run out of liquids grabbed a can and some sparkling water (1.75L in about 5 hours was a bit on the low side). I should’ve got more but they didn’t have my usual refill choice of Lucozade Orange and I was in a bit of a hurry anyway.

I thought with only 60k to go it would be relatively plain sailing from now until Chalfont Saint Peter. That wasn’t to be though as more and more climbs were piled on and the nature of the lanes meant full gas on the descents wasn’t an option (not a safe one anyway).

Then, after crunching through something on the road, the back end starts getting washy. Damn it! Flat rear tyre. So I spend a good 10-15min with numb hands swapping the tube. While I’m doing so a rider goes past. “I don’t think so!” as I take off in pursuit, smashing some climbs ignoring the power meter like the rest of the day (don’t tell coach). I collect him and carry on. All of about 15min later tssss “ARRRGH!” another rear flat!! I triple check the tyre just to make sure I’ve not missed a piece of flint or something but, like the first time, I don’t find anything. Last tube better hold. It does and I’m soon off after the ‘rider in red’ again. I collect him down the road as now HE is on the roadside fixing a flat. Someone really needs to sweep the lanes in the Chilterns.

I’m out of water and food but reckon I can make the last 20k ok. It’s a bit of a struggle with a partially inflated rear tyre but half way back I find a half-eaten Torq bar. Sweet! A few more hills are put away and then A413 and HQ! Nice! I’m totally caked in black road grit, brake dust and assorted other gunk but Paul kindly sorts me out with a drink and a jam doughnut, I have a chat to some other riders and then I’m off heading for home.

All in all a good day and anyone out there would’ve earned some hardman points. Many thanks to Paul and anyone else who helped organise. Also to the controls that I dripped my way through 🙂 Respect to the slower riders too who have some crazy lanes to negotiate in the dark!

Dirty, busted Kinesis

– Carrying an extra couple of kilos of dirt and crud didn’t help

If you want to ride it next year, check out Paul’s Anfractuous website.