Blog: Lynn Hamel’s National Hill Climb Championships

Team Herbalife Wheelbase rider Lynn Hamel writes “My preparation for this year’s championship has been very different to other years due to the length and rather shallow gradient of Long Hill.”

Unlike previous years with short steep climbs where a light bike is essential, this year’s hill was as much about aerodynamics as light equipment. I practiced the hill three times and each time learning from my mistakes of setting out too hard, using too bigger a chain ring and trying to push too bigger a gear. My training consisted of ten to fifteen minute efforts on the time trial bike, static and using a turbo trainer. Quite different to previous years training on a steep local hill!

Race day arrived – it was sunny and mild at 17 degrees but with a gusty head wind. I planned to split the race into three five minute sections giving each section a colour. First five minutes blue zone for keeping cool and calm. Second five, the yellow zone for starting to raise the pace and final five, red zone for go, go, go and hold it to the line!

I set off from the line feeling good, stuck to the plan, legs spinning, nice and smooth. Lots of encouragement from spectators, David Harman from Eurosport commentating half way up, the sound of the motorbike video man passing by with half a mile to go. Winding on up the hill, head wind, side wind, tail wind, keeping the legs spinning ready for the final three bends into the tough head wind finish.  My bike computer read 15.38.6 an average speed of 16.99 miles an hour. A 37 second improvement on my best time up the climb! A job well done!

Back at the headquarters, the feeling of elation was over whelming as my last seven weeks of training and learning flashed before me. The research and training had made me a smarter rider and had won me my 3rd national Hill Climb title! There were so many people came to cheer me up the hill on the day including family, friends, my team manager Geoff Newcombe, coach Terry Bell and three times hill climb champion  Peter Graham with his faith that I too could win a third time!

Someone very special to me was the three times hill climb champion from the 1940’s, Vic Clark (92). He was not able to be physically there on the day but was willing me on from his home in Grange and waiting for my phone call to let him know whether I had successfully defended my title.

Lynn Hamel

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