Interview: James Gullen – Second at Hill Climb Champs


Talking to Hill Climb Championship silver medallist James Gullen about his ride and ‘that’ bike he rode up the Stang on Sunday.

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RELATED ARTICLE: Hill Climb Championship 2013

Whilst his teammates in Hope Factory Racing are indulging in winter cyclo-cross racing, for James, it’s the Hill Climbs where he’s had some success and the championship was his final race before he goes off and eats some nice food post season.


James was the recent winner of the Cragg Vale Hill Climb and also a two stage one organised by Yorkshire RC. He’s a ‘name’ consistently in the results and James came to within two seconds of winning the British Hill Climb championship on the Stang last Sunday in horrible weather for the second year in a row.

Whilst losing the race to a title by only two seconds, especially over a course taking nearly eight minutes to complete, is quite gutting for any rider, James was pretty pleased with his ride. “I think I got it right. It’s hard to tell but Tejvan did the best ride on the day so you can’t take that away from him.”

“He came into it as favourite so the result is probably the right one.”

“I quite liked the distance of this one and it wasn’t a real short explosive one. I think if it had been a little longer, it might have suited me better but it’s hard to tell. A headwind too may have made it different too but this course was better for me than the Rake where some one like Jack (Pullar) could have won it.”

At the recent Monsal Hill Climb (600 yards long) where James was 14th, I got to lift his bike and feel myself just how light it is. Under six kilos is quite something I can tell you! Asked what the story was with the climbing machine, he says “a friend of mine loaned me it for this with really light components on it and I cut the drops off to save a bit more weight.”


The bike though still has a power metre on it adding a few grams. James explained that’s because he uses the metre for training purposes (gathering the numbers) and also pacing the hill climbs. “I could save weight there but as the bikes only 5.8 kilos, it is still very light. I also gambled with some track tubulars thinking that if I punctured, so be it, at least I have tried to make the bike as fast as possible.”

“The gamble paid off though and I never punctured”.

Asked what it is like to ride a bike that light, a kilo under the UCI limit (its not a UCI event I might add) James says “I find on the shorter hill climbs, I get wheel slip when you are leaning forward and going as fast as you can.”

“With this course though being so long, I held back on the steep section (18%) and never got any tyre slip. If I’d gone too hard up that first bit, I’d have had nothing left for the final.”

Looking ahead, James says he’s looking to be in a road team next season. “I am still talking to a few teams and hopefully I’ll get something sorted in the next few weeks. Now the season is over, I have time to concentrate on that rather than all these hill reps!”

Good luck to James and thanks for the chat.

RELATED ARTICLE: Hill Climb Championship 2013

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