Rreport: Cardiff Ajax CC hill climb

Cardiff Ajax CC hill climb on Sunday 11th October provids a rare chance for Cardiff-based riders to pin a number to their backs – Joseph Rees and Illi Gardner the winners

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Report: Cardiff Ajax CC hill climb

Gardner and Rees smash event records

With covid restrictions being far stricter in Wales compared to the neighbours in England, there has been very little opportunity this year for the nation’s domestique riders to demonstrate their talent. And due to county-wide lockdowns throughout much of Wales, that opportunity has become even more limited. However, the Cardiff Ajax CC hill climb on Sunday 11th October provided a rare chance for Cardiff-based riders to pin a number to their backs.

At just 1.3 miles long, the course is deceptive starting with a shallow gradient that lulls the rider into a false sense of security. At about half distance the road kicks up with the gradient entering double digits that destroys the legs and lungs making the final few hundred metres on less steep terrain just as challenging.

Due to a hard 30 person limit on any gathering that exists in Wales, the event was limited to just 24 competitors and no spectators or photographers were permitted. Hot favourites were Joe Rees (Bikestrong-KTM) and Illi Gardner (CAMS-Tifosi), both former Ajax riders. Gardner has not long returned from a family holiday in France where she took the highly prestigious Alpe d’Huez Strava segment from Emma Pooley – but the impact of the subsequent quarantine on her form was unknown.

Junior Callum Thomas was first to start and finish with a respectable 7:05 but when Gafin Griffiths blasted across the finish line 5 minutes later with a 5:48 the benchmark was set. An amazing ride from 12 year old Mabli Philips (Maindy Flyers) saw her finish in 6:31, just a handful of seconds behind Gardner’s previous women’s event record. But then Gardner smashed her own record by almost a minute in 5:32.7.

As more and more riders finished, none were able to topple Gardner from the top spot. It was only until the penultimate rider, Cardiff Ajax’s own Dewi Lord, crossed the line just 0.4 of a second faster than Gardner did the lead change hand. All eyes then fell on last man off Joe Rees who didn’t disappoint, sprinting across the line in 4:55.4, a new event record and the first rider to go under the prestigious 5 minute barrier.

The organiser would like to thank all the riders for adhering to the social distancing measures that were put in place and the members of Ajax and the local CTT district committee for advice and guidance on promoting this event under the local lockdown rules.

Cycle Division’s Shop

Send your results as well as club, team & event news here

Other Results on VeloUK (including reports containing results)

Other News on VeloUK