First race at Hog Hill

As a race venue Hog Hill is exactly as described: there is a hill, it is an absolute pig.

The Redbridge Cycle Centre is better known as Hog Hill and it’s developing a reputation as a tough but exciting circuit to race on. I made my first trip up there on Saturday and can report that it is both tough and exciting. And windy as hell.

The image is from which is the best place to find out about cycling in London, run by the wonderful John Mullineaux. Can I say that this was very early in the race but I think I’m styling nicely there for a man who is 6kg over where he wants to be and not doing enough training.

Hillingdon’s windy usually but Hog Hill felt like a whole magnitude more painful, perhaps because the wind whips across the bits that are flat meaning that there’s no real respite between them and the hill. At Hillingdon you can hide out in the bunch and recover when it starts to burn the legs, no such luck here.

I stuck it out for a couple of laps in the bunch before I got myself badly out of position and in the wind for too long. Up the hill (clockwise) and I hit my limit hard and could feel myself struggling to hold the wheel in front. The gap went and I tried to fool myself I could get back on over the top and on the descent. It never happens like that in circuit races.

So I spent the rest of the race working hard on my own and getting a hard workout in the wind for my 15 pounds. Got lapped twice by the finish and felt a bit turned inside out by the time I made my way home.

Most annoying was losing my saddlebag somewhere between home and the circuit which I’ve had to replace, although the new one is much better. I’ll write about that next time.

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