Book Review – A Corinthian Endeavour


With one of the blue ribbon events in the RTTC calendar this weekend, the Hill Climb Championships, how about buying a book about the championships over the years, A Corinthian Endeavour

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Book Review – A Corinthian Endeavour

ISBN 978-1-874739-76-0

See an extract from the book here:  | Buy online here : Amazon

This weekend, the lightest and fastest riders uphill will travel to Jackson Bridge for the 2015 RTTC Hill Climb Championships. It’s been a while since the championships were there in 1994, but each year the buzz around the championships seems to grow.


Hill Climbs are a strange breed of event. There are some historic ones like Monsal Head, BEC CC, Catford CC and a few others that are over subscribed but many many more where only a handful of riders will race the event. That’s perhaps because in this event, there is no hiding place and cruising along. A race uphill is always going to be tough.

One thing is for sure, a place in the championships is a sought after ride and on Sunday, the Hill Climb specialists will line up one by one for their race against the watch and gravity. For spectators of the sport and riders alike, to learn more about the allure of the championship and perhaps understand why this event is so special in time trialling, a blue ribbon event in many ways, there is the book ‘A Corinthian Endeavour’.

The author Paul Jones has written a near 300 page tribute to the event and will take a reader back to the 40’s and the start of the championship with a fascinating chat with a rider who was winning hill climbs in the 40s, 95 year old Vic Clarke. It is these interviews Paul has done that make the book the great read it is.

The book, chapter by chapter recalls championships, star names and star climbs from past decades where major stars racing in European events like the Tour de France would compete in the race.


Lots of pictures to bring back memories from bygone eras.

Stars like Brian Robinson who is the guest of honour at this Sunday’s championship. Third in Milan San Remo and a Tour de France stage winner and a former Hill Climb Champion. A look through the former winners list at the back of the work and I see many ‘names’ I would read about week in, week out when I was growing up in Australia.

Joe Waugh, Paul Carbutt, Daryl Webster, Stuart Dangerfield and celebs now like Malcolm Elliott and Chris Boardman. So many familiar names!

The title of the book says it all really about this championship with Corinthian meaning ‘involving the highest standards of amateur sportsmanship’. In this day and age where the lines between amateur and professional are blurred, it is still the ‘amateurs’ who earn their living from something far removed from racing uphills who dominate the results. And so it will be this Sunday at Jackson Bridge.

To really get a feel for the event, A Corinthian Endeavour is a superb read and a must for anyone who loves bike racing and the history of the sport from the early days to the present day. As some one who has been to only a few of the recent championships, it was interesting to read what the author and others had to say about the events I went to see and photograph.

Paul brings the history of the events to life with the interviews of those who gave the race their all to be the best they can be on the day. I am sure there will be many who will inspired to take up the challenge of the hill climb and test their limits after reading this travel through time with the help of many a great name to inspire them.

The book tells tales (we all love a great yarn!) of rider’s obsession with pain and self-discipline – key elements in the fight against the grasp of gravity on hills with names every bit as iconic as those who have conquered them and their rivals on two wheels.




A look at the names of the chapters shows that the hills are every bit as steeped in history as the deeds of those who have achieved greatness on them. Chapter titles such as “The Rakes Progress”, “the Stang” and “The Nick” along with others such as “Dangerfield” or “The Enigmatic Daryl Webster”. All names that will be familiar to those who follow the sport, especially those of us of a certain age!

A Corinthian Endeavour traces the full history of the Championship event from its inception in 1944 through to 2014, and the incorporation of a Women’s Championship from 1998 onwards. It is illustrated with 28 black and white and 21 colour photographs.

The author Paul Jones is an occasional racing cyclist and ardent hill climber who struggles to balance the demands of writing about cycling with doing some actual cycling. He came in a long way behind Sir Bradley Wiggins in the 2014 National Time Trial Championships, once scraped a 49-minute “25”and has won a couple of hill climbs in the South West of England.

He will also be doing a talk on the book at the En Route Coffee Shop in Holmfirth on Saturday night from 7pm where he will sign copies of the book.

Learn more about the book from the master of the Hill Climb, Tejvan Pettinger, a former champion and someone who is featured in the book. His look at the book is every bit as insightful as the book itself and will do it far more justice than I ever could. For me, I just enjoyed the history and the characters the book brings to life. Read Tejvan’s review here 

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