Jul 20

TT Round 8 Legs of Steel The “real” Olympian Gods descend (in an uphill fashion) on Col de Burton.

Glossary of terms used in this report:

Bodily fluids:  substances (blood, snot, vomit…….) found marking the climb route……
Holderupperer:  talented person who takes pleasure in releasing hillclimbers to their doom
Foot jam:  offensive accumulation of substance found between cyclists’ toes or an inability to cleat in first time on the start line
Gorp:  uphill noise made by cyclists:  also see Rurp
Rurp:  see Gorp
Layback:  what all hillclimbers look forward to on seeing the catcher at the top of the hill
Line of weakness:  Long involved post-race analysis of performance.

When the twelve Olympian gods gathered in the gorges of Mount Olympus, the myth got it wrong…..they were short of 13 Gods, Lincsquad’s badass hillclimbing cyclists.  Like nimble footed goats with wheels of steel, tonight, our Gods tackled Col de Burton Stather head on.  These hill billy mountain climbing goats should be respected, because frankly put, Col de Burton is no flat TT……Col de Burton rates highly, and should be included amongst the greatest climbs of Europe. Historically the area of Burton Stather has connections with battle.  During WWII the area to the north of the village known as ‘Burton Hills’ was taken over by the military and was used for top secret testing of amphibious tanks known as duplex drive tanks and other weapons and devices. They built a large slipway into the River Trent about 1/4mile north of the Stather and DD Valentine and Sherman tanks could often be seen ‘swimming’ up and down the river. Evidence suggests that Major General Percy Hobart and Nikolas Straussler visited the site at the time and many believe that Bouncing Bomb inventor, Barnes Wallis also spent time here (though I couldn’t find written evidence to prove this). Many of the soldiers stationed here met and married local girls and one sergeant is said to have remarked that they were losing more soldiers to the local girls than they were the war! No time for that sort of thing! No time for bouncing bombs…….or ladies!!!!  The TTers had a race to race, and it was 0.3mile uphill!

Hill climbing is one of those nutty English traditions.  English people like to join queues, at a TT you queue to pay and get a number then you queue to take your place on the start line. You look up from the start line and you know what lies in wait.  It’s like preparing for the dentist’s chair.  Col de Burton certainly is a test, a 0.3 mile uphill climb with an average gradient of 1:10 requiring a lung bursting effort to reach the top and conquer a total elevation of 49metres.  However, if you measured this in footlong subways it doesn’t seem so daunting.  “I’m racing uphill the length of 1584 sandwiches” just isn’t so scary……Tonight’s TTers regularly do time trials on the flat and their times range from 20 mins onwards.  However, it’s a different ball game on the hill, when they are not in the tuck position. The burning intensity of all out efforts as the riders fought gravity provided the ideal conditions to suffer and push themselves to the limits.  The tricky part was that the riders could easily fall into oxygen debt, and really suffer to get up the final gradient.  In the last 100 metres of this hill climb, you can lose a lot of time if you’ve gone too hard early on.   But equally, if you hold back too much you can’t claim back the time either.  This is one of the fascinating aspects of a hill climb, how to judge your effort over a short distance of constantly changing gradients. To get a true measure of your inner hill climber, I think you should add your body fat to the rating of the climb.  So climbing a 1:10 with 22% body fat is way harder than climbing a 1:10 with 3% body fat.  Feel free to apply this formulae to the results…..Lincsquad Catcher Marshalls were positioned at the top of the hill to support exhausted, wobbling riders.  This maintains a tradition dating back to the days when cyclists’ toe straps were done up so tightly that they couldn’t get their feet out of the pedals and would just fall over sideways.  Not that you could feel much more agony at that stage.  Let’s take a look at the numbers and see who our King and Queen of the mountain 2018 were…..

Weather conditions were, cloudy, wind 4mph recorded by the MET office.

Tonight’s contenders…..

name speciality
B “HRH Kingy” Creasy Climbing mountains very quickly
C “HRH Queenie” Smart Climbing mountains very quickly
N “I’m a mountain goat” Stones Mountain goat
S “I’m always excited” Quirke Tis always excited
M “I don’t always play the ukulele” Dent Multiple skills….too many to mention
V “ pink lady” Howden Nose to the handlebars
S “Speedy Beedy” Beedham Stealing Louise’s nickname for one night only
M “speedy legs” Walsh Junior mountain goat
S “top to bottom in one breath” Wilson I may have got that the wrong way round…..
D “Dan the roller man” Ellis Always warms up on rollers
J “ The stuntman” Challen Wheelies on the start line
P “the screamer” Challen Makes a lot of noise
F “pacesetter” Gibbs Heart and bravery of a lion


In true altruistic Lincsquad tradition, we sent the youngest rider to recce the route!  Best to wear out the young ones first!  Freddy did an excellent job pathfinding up the mountain in a time of 2:29!  Lincsquad thank you for your help tonight Freddy!

The hill climb was closer than the results would suggest, half of the climb proving to be 90 percent mental. B Creasy and C Smart are our new King and Queen of the Col de Burton and in the words of David Millar “It is so easy to give up, when you’re on a mountain and it’s really hurting.  We go through a lot physically”.  If it is a shame to be the second man and second woman on the Col de Burton, then S “I’m always excited” Quirke and V Howden will have to live with this shame.  However, displaying the 3 qualities of fantastic hillclimbers…(1  high pain threshold, 2 bad memory and 3 …..I forget the third.) pushing through the pain into 3rd place were S Beedham and P Challen.

The whole idea of comparing our climbers is difficult!  Comparing their results is like sitting Van Gogh down with Rembrant and saying ready, steady go!  However, let me try!  Once released by our Holderupperer, with no reports of foot jam, the tiger feet of N Stones charged up the hill. D Ellis attacked, attacked attacked the Col.  Dancing his way up like a child dizzy off lemonade was J “stunt rider” Challen.  Did M Walsh have a dog’s bone attached to the back of his saddle?  He flew up that hill as if a Rottweiler was on the chase, with its favourite bone on its mind!   Congrats on being first junior over the finish line!  Pushing himself to the limit S Wilson shot to the stars in his bid to enter outer orbit.   Making the climb look as easy as playing the ukulele. M Dent charged up that mountain, looking all the time for signs to Amarillo. All these Gods of the hill climb should get credit for remembering what their names were after the climb. During the climb they witnessed body fluids lining the climb.  However this was reassuring that other climbers had passed this way.  Gorps and rurps echoed around the valley surrounding the col, while all the TTers goals was to enjoy their layback.

Contextually, with the World Cup being last weekend, it got me thinking how footballers, historically have been all shapes and sizes.  A couple of little ones, some completely covered in hair, a few weaklings and some chaps with no sense for direction.  Nowadays, footballers conform to a bodily aesthetic that in its rigidity and uniformity makes fashion models look as unique as snowflakes.  On the Col de Burton, this seemed to reverse!  On the start line the hill climbers presented with immaculate lycra and polished bikes, however nearly all resembled the early 1980s footballers on the finish line!!

Quicker than cows breakdancing on ice, it was time for the presentation of the hallowed polka dot jerseys.  Congratulations King Ben and Queen Catherine, wear your jerseys with pride! The raffle was won by M Dent!  Prizes of wine, mulled wine and high 5 tabs were donated by V Wilson, P&J Challen and W Kent…..Quite a concoction, just don’t mix them Malcolm.

Thanks as always to the whole TT crew, the racers and all volunteers. Special thanks to Rob Walsh, as well as co ordinating all things money related, he has proved to be a dab hand at taking photographs!

In conclusion, while the results are interesting to reflect on, for some it is the race itself that stimulates the senses.   In the words of Laura Trott…”you don’t know how good you are until you actually get out on a bike and get riding”.  Hill climbing and TTing are not sports for everyone.  It’s about the sweat in your hair, the spit on your chin and the nausea in your gut.  Throbbing calves and cramps at midnight, strong enough to wake the dead, is what it is all about.  The world dreams about having the passion that each TTer possesses.  This passion gets us out the door to train regardless of the weather. It’s about being on a lonely road and training like a champion even though there is not a single person there to cheer you on. The curious world that we TTers find ourselves in is all about having the desire to train and persevere until every fibre in our legs, mind and heart has turned to steel.  Once we achieve our goals, new challenges lay ahead and that is when we become the best we can be.  That’s really all we can ask for.

“Hey man dilly dong, dilly dong” (Claudio Ranieri’s words not mine)…speaking of new challenges, Round 9 sees all TTers heading back to the flatlands of Scawby Brook…Are you brave enough to take part in Lincsquad’s “on the spot competition”…..“Dare you Bare?”……Can you ride the 9.8m TT without your watch/garmin/speedo?????? More details will be released over the next couple of weeks………..


I would like to thank you for reading this far (if indeed you still are)…..If you have enjoyed reading the report, give it a thumbs up or leave a comment….I would love to hear from you .



TT sec



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