London's first hill climb time trial reaches great heights

photo Andy Waterman A competitor grits his teeth on the course of the first London Urban Hill Climb


London's first closed-road hill-climb time trial took place on Thursday 22 July 2010, the same evening that Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador fought for the Tour de France's yellow jersey on the Col du Tourmalet.

The Urban Hill Climb was organised by Rollapaluza racing, with prizes from Condor Cycles, and took place on Swain’s Lane in Highgate.

The 750m course reaches a gradient of 20% in places, and the race saw over a hundred riders on road bikes, fixies and even folders attacking the hill.

The winner was Chris Metcalfe of Matlock CC in 1 minute 32.86secs, with 15-year-old Germain Burton of De Ver Cycles close behind in 1 minute 33.70secs.

Claire Beaumont of London’s Condor Bikes won the women’s competition, in 2 minutes 8.35secs. As well as coming second overall, Burton won the junior competition.

Like the action taking place in the Pyrenees, heavy rain showers fell on race day, but these weren't enough to deter hundreds of spectators who cheered on the competitors.

The competition was inspired by Simon Warren’s book '100 Greatest Cycling Climbs' (reviewed in the June-July 2010 issue of LCC's London Cyclist magazine), which includes Swain's Lane, as well as 99 other climbs across the UK.