Following his efforts at Monsal Head just a week ago, Graham Martin was off hill climbing again at the weekend. This time he tackled the popular double header of Catford and Bec Hill Climbs, which always take place on the same day. Both climbs are on closed roads and both measure around 700 yards, attracting entries of around 100 riders and large crowds of spectators.
The Catford Hill Climb Classic at York’s Hill near Sevenoaks, takes place in the morning and claims to be – ‘The Oldest Continuing Cycle Race in the World’. It has an average gradient of 12.5%, with two stretches of 25% and a record of 1m.47.6s which goes back to 1983.
Not Graham, but it gives you an idea of what Catford is all about
Graham set a time of 2m:29s, which was a few seconds away from his previous best time. However, this put him further up the leader board than in previous years, being 4th Vet and 34th overall on a very mucky damp slippery course with lots of wheel spin.
Having done that, the action then moves to the Bec Hill Climb in the afternoon, which is Bec Cycling Club’s premier annual open event. Raced on the infamous White Lane, near Limpsfield, Surrey, the road takes the steepest route up Titsey Hill. The course is only 700 yards long, but consistently steep, with a section at the end ramping up to 1:4.
Graham put in another great effort with a time of 2m.23s., which put him 39th overall and 8th Vet.
His goal for the weekend was to set times good enough to qualify for the National Hill Climb Championship on 31st October at the iconic Winnats Pass in Derbyshire. The ranking apparently can take some time, so fingers crossed that Graham has done enough to get selected.
The same rider incidentally, Harvey Weinberger, managed to win both events.