Q & A: Lynn Hamel (multi Hill Climb Champ)


A question & answer chat with a multiple (2012, 2011, 2010, 2008) Women’s Hill Climb Champion, Lynn Hamel from the Lake District

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Lynn has been racing bikes since she was 17 (12 years) as well as having dabbled with triathlon and running too. Lynn raced her first national event in 2004 which was the hill climb where she finished 3rd lady and went on to win the title in 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2008.


Lynn, who lives in Kendal in the Lake District was second in the British Championships in 2013 where she says she did her best but was unable to add to her list of victories.

Here is a question and answer with Lynn …

What was it about cycling that appealed as a sport?
Lynn: I did some bike touring in my teens with a friend in the village and enjoyed being able to get from A to B under my own steam and found it helped with anxiety.

What challenges does racing bikes, a hard sport to be sure, have for women and you in particular?
Lynn: One of the things that can be a challenge for women in racing is varying energy levels at different times of the month. I certainly find this a problem.

Is Hill Climbing your speciality or do you enjoy racing of other types of events which you do through out the year
Lynn: Hill climbing is my speciality although I also enjoy 50 and 100 mile time trials

You have won many titles in Hill Climb, is there a favourite among them?
Lynn: The Rake in 2012 was my favourite national hill climb title. It’s a class event!


What type of hill climb course do you favour
Lynn: My favourite type of hill climb course is one that goes up hill all the way and about 3-8 minutes long.

Your bike; what make/model is it?
Lynn: I race on a Giant TCR composite with Zipp wheels. I use a Rolf Vector front wheel with a shallower rim if the hill is very exposed.

Do you make any changes to it for the hill climbs outside of perhaps using normal bars instead of tri ones
Lynn: I have my Giant TCR road bike set up for hill climbing, so unless it’s pretty pan flat like in 2011 where I used my Cervelo P3 time trial bike, I’ll use the Giant.

What sort of gearing front and back you have on your bike? Does that change a lot for different hill climbs
Lynn: I use a standard chain ring 39 x 52 and my cassette is 27 x 12. This is what I always use unless I use my time trial bike which is a 55 x 42 chain ring and 23 x 12 cassette. My time trial bike takes 650 wheels, hence why the gears appear big.



What has been the highlight of your year racing.
Lynn: Breaking my record on the Salt Ayre circuit for a 10 mile time trial has to be my highlight of the season.

Do you work and if so is that full time?
Lynn: I’m writing and illustrating children’s books and working voluntarily at Socialworx which is creating story boards for an online site promoting awareness on different issues around mental health and well being.

Is it difficult to fit in training around your other commitments
Lynn: It’s great fitting in training around work, as I work afternoons mostly.

Do you feel there are more women in time trialling/hill climbs this year
Lynn: I don’t think there are more women in time trialling and hill climbing this year than any other year, but there are many more women coming into road racing, particularly junior girls.

Do you coach yourself or have a coach to help structure your training?
Lynn: I have a coach, but although they are incredibly supportive, I’m not able to follow the training properly because of frequent tired patches, possibly due to my adrenal fatigue, which I was diagnosed with in 2010. One short session of intervals can knock me for a week and that’s if I manage them to start with!

What is the best thing about racing bikes?
Lynne: The best thing about bike racing has to be winning.

If you could change one of your weaknesses into a strength, which one would it be?
Lynne: If I could change a weakness into a strength it would be my recovery, it’s shocking, especially given that I’m 28.

What will you doing training wise during the winter – as little as possible or a structured programme based on getting success in 2014?
Lynne: During the winter I plan to sack off the ‘training’ and just ride on my heavy winter hack bike, no numbers and data rubbish and no energy and recovery drinks full of sugar. No mince pies or christmas pudding. A range of healthy foods only. I’m going to support my adrenal glands because they’re the power house for my energy!

Our thanks to Lynn, a great champion in Women’s cycling. Good luck for 2014!



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