Hill-arious things that go BUMP in the night

Round 8 hill climb report

Hill-arious things that go bump in the night……

Some of you have asked what TT towers is like and what it is like living here during Lincsquad’s TT series.  TT towers is dimensionally transcendental, innocuous on the outside, bigger on the inside and able to transport us through time and space.  The weather affects us badly here.  It was a dark and stormy night not so long ago; Jon was in his “man cave” in the basement of the Towers.  The man cave is more of a dungeon really, Jon disappears in there for hours on end, and I take food to the door at meal times, knock three times, say a prayer and slide it in to him through the serving hatch.  There always are strange noises in that part of the building, so I leave as quickly as I can.  This stormy night, I was half asleep catching up with Tour de France racing on the telly when suddenly I heard a car pull up outside the window.  This window is a good 3 storeys up, so I was surprised…..  There were three loud knocks on the drawbridge, I looked at the time and it was 3 am…..Outside the wind howled, the rain lashed more and more persistently against the building.  “Who can that be?” I wondered.  I texted Jon (who was still in the man cave) and he replied…..”Go and see”.  I let down the drawbridge and a stranger stood there…..a long scar on his cheek…. His hat pulled low.   “Can you give me a push????”   The stranger’s voice stabbed its way through my chest and sent heckles of fear down my spine.  “No I can’t” I yelled back over the thunder.  I started to draw the bridge back up……”Who was it?  Jon texted me from the safety of his dungeon.  “Some creepy guy looking for a push”. “Did you help?”  (Jon knows how to twist my moral compass)……”Course not, it’s 3am, the rain is pelting down, it is thunder and lightning”……Jon’s reply?  “I think you should help him”….. I once again dropped the drawbridge…”Hey are you still there??”  From nearby in the shadows that creepy voice again…..”Yes I am”…..

Me:  “Do you still want a push?”

Creepy:  “yes I do”

Me:  “Where are you?”

Creepy:  “Over here, on your swing……….”

So who needed a push tonight on the hill climb?  Were there any Kate Bushes running up that hill? To be fair, I’m usually quite calm overseeing these TTs, however tonight, when a racer turned up with 2 left cycling shoes I had to give him a right boot or he wouldn’t have made it off the start line.  Another racer had just bought a brand new wheel from a bike shop, however that bit in the middle was missing; he asked me what he should do.  I said he would be wisest to complain, however, when he did, it turned out that the bike shop put him straight through to their spokes-person.  It has been said, on the grapevine, that Alfred Hitchcock used to be quite a mountain goat on the quiet when he competed in his local hill climb events.  Well he was the master of suspension after all.   Let me end the suspense of tonight’s report.  If your friends are asking about tonight’s hill climb, I’ll summit up nicely for you.

10 racers turned up to face the hill of doom at Burton Upon Stather.  Weather conditions were, hot hot hot…….20 degrees in the shade and 7mph WSW breeze…..What is a hill climb I hear you ask?  It is essentially an uphill time trial.  Starting at minute intervals, riders race against the clock and battle the gradient to set the fastest possible time they can.  The fastest man and woman up the climb (on their bikes) take their respective victories… and knock their polka dot socks off!

Remember 4 pm on a Friday when you were 15 and the Comprehensive/Grammar school’s hooter blew to signify the end of school for the day?  Remember that rush to the buses to claim one of the hardest seats known to man?  Well, Catherine Smart, our previous Queen of the Mountain 2018,  relived that rush of speed tonight!  She claimed the first pair of polka dot socks of the night with a combined time of 4 minutes 22 seconds.  Unlucky to come second, Chris Kirkby was like a cheetah of the sea, as she sped at 110km/h past the finish line, posting a combined time of 5 minutes 47 seconds.

Over to Jon with the masculine Men’s report………. Good evening from the dungeon. It’s that one night of the year when we leave the sanctuary of the King Billy and do battle with one of North Lincolnshire’s most iconic hills.  Well, we call it a hill, but is it really?  As it turns out there is no hard and fast definition as to at what height a hill turns in to a mountain. So on that basis maybe we should call it a Mountain Climb, now that sounds brutal. Even more brutal is the fact that, because of tectonic plate movement, Mount Everest grows a staggering 4mm every year. Based on this fact it stands to reason that Burton Mountain has therefore also gained in height since we last visited, good job we didn’t bombard the riders with this fact before they set off.  The reason we don’t burden riders with anything more than a race number to remember is that riders need a clear mind to ensure their conquest is mistake free.  If only the same approach had been taken with a German team who, in 1974, set off to conquer Annapurna 4.  Bamboozled with too much information they climbed Annapurna 2 by mistake, can you believe it?  I’m pleased to report that there was no such lunacy performed by our riders who all found the correct mountain to climb. In fact they were so thorough in the preparation that they ended up doing it twice, (that’s right, twice) and their ascent times were combined to give an overall total for the night, what a surprise!

Having argued the case for Burton Hill to be renamed Burton Mountain, I’ll now make a counter argument for it to revert back to its original ‘Hill’ status. The compelling argument is really quite simple …………… there have been more famous people called ‘Hill’ than there have been called ‘Mountain’.  So, to the results ………..  At the front of the line, re-enacting a chase scene from Benny Hill was Richard Eke in a combined time of 2 mins 59 seconds, and in doing so scooped up the 2nd pair of polka dot socks.   Next up, doing a fine impression of Graham Hill was Lincsquad’s Ben Creasy (3mins 20 seconds), with wannabe Damon Hill, Lincsquad’s Ed Smith (3 mins 44 seconds) rounding off the podium.  More smartly dressed than Harry Hill was Matthew Walsh and with more flare than Jimmy Hill skipping down the wing was Jacob Riby.  Also on the night there were auditions for the new Beverley Hill Billies from Malcolm Dent and Andy Lakeland. Giving rise to suspicion that his bike has a ‘Hamburger Hill’ mode was Drew Hobley who recorded 2 identical times, to the second.


Malcom Dent is one of Lincsquad’s racers who found that his race time was so much better tonight than last year; he was in a whole different gear as he attacked that hill.  Here is his race report.  Read it twice as he did it twice…..



The Hillclimb

Stather Hill 2 words that strike fear into the hearts of all of us flat road Lincolnshire riders! Well the hill climb is upon us once again and a great chance to get good points in the Lincsquad TT championship for us ‘lower end’ riders as it is the least well attended TT of the championship – I wonder why?!?!? One reason of course is that it always coincides with Scunny 10k but I think that’s just an excuse.

Decision time TT bike or roadie – dead easy I’m going to need to change gear going uphill maybe even whilst standing up so it’s got to be the roadie. It’s a hill climb so do we go fully lightweight or just pander to that side of things. Well there’s no way I’m cutting down my carbon seat post just for 1 hill climb a year so it looks like it’s pandering to it!!! Anyway under saddle bag removed – don’t think I’ll have time to mend a puncture on the way up. Still, not removing the tri bars, too many bolts and I’m always amazed how light they really are when they come off.  Drinks bottle to minimum – I’ll need that at the top! And we’re ready……..

As an aside I remember the first time I saw the results for this TT and was thinking less than 3 minutes for a race – what’s going on. This was of course before I knew the course!!!

Experience has taught me that – for me – it’s folly to start in the ‘big ring’ as I’ll be out of it and scrabbling for lower gears before long, so ‘little ring’ it is. The countdown comes 10seconds……………….5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and we’re off quite slowly for a race and not too hard at the start I’ve got to get to the top. It rapidly steepens levels a tad then steepens viciously (sic) as you get near the top. Now this is the bit where the mind thinks why am I doing this, can I make it – OH NO I’VE RUN OUT OF GEARS!!! With the leg muscles burning and the lungs gasping for breath there’s a final short effort to get into the arms of the waiting catcher and it’s all over. For some reason all I need to do is ride my bike to spin my legs – oh yes I remember it’s something to do with Lactic Acid. It’s all over and just the fun bit to come, going back down to the car yehah! (Disclaimer – at the time of writing this Malcolm was under the impression that he was only required to climb the hill once. Sorry Malcolm, this is what happens when JC stays in his dungeon too long)

***End of FRRR***

Thank you Malcolm! Now then, did anyone see the ghost at the raffle draw?  Or the man wearing the blow up balloons in the shape of unicorns walking his chicken on a lead?  I have had reports tonight that after the hooter was blown which signifies the start of the raffle, that skirts were tugged; bibs were tweaked, drinks taken from “refreshment” glasses.  Does this haunting/visitation have anything to do with our Baron?  Rumour has it that during a race, he can reduce his physical form to a ghostly shimmering shadow in order to reduce drag.  I’ve never seen it myself, but then again I suppose that’s the point.  Here are some closing words from him to lift your spirits….

“Hills!  First created by the Romans following their crossing of the Atlantic in the year 1066.  Prior to this, England was very flat like other countries such as Holland and errrrr Barrett.  The hills you see today are soil spoils from their road building program.  Starting from the South of England they basically started to push soil northwards.  However like most road network planning today the Roman roads went massively over budget and never got further than the North East.  Roman hills need to be tackled in either two ways, seated (feminine) or stood up…(masculine).  The gender attribution is of course derived from the social etiquette of greeting someone/shaking hands.  The Baron….

Thanks Baron, I never knew that!  Excellent research on those old Roman folk!!!! The night closed with merry chat as the racers received their prizes from the raffle.  Huge thanks to Rob, Cathy and Emma for all their back stage duties, ensuring that the TT is run smoothly.  Also huge thanks to our handsome Marshalls, Sheehan Quirke, Matt Austin, Mark Turner and Steve Grocock.

If you have enjoyed what you have read, please leave a comment or place a like on the post.  We love to hear from you.

Ciao Ciao Ciao

Pam, Jon and the TT team.

Ps:  can anyone else hear the icecream van or is that just me????



Name No Club Min Sec Total Sec
1 Richard  Eke 10 N/A 2 59 179
2 Ben Creasy 7 Lincsquad 3 20 200
3 Ed Smith 1 Lincsquad 3 44 224
4 Drew Hobley 4 Lincsquad 3 46 226
5 Andy Lakeland 9 OTCF 3 53 233
6 Catherine Smart  F 5 Lincsquad 4 22 262
7 Matthew Walsh 2 Lincsquad 4 35 275
8 Jacob Riby 8 Team Sportslab 4 36 276
9 Malcolm Dent 3 Lincsquad 5 14 314
10 Chris Kirkby  F 6 Lincsquad 5 47 347