Sunday, October 22, 2006

Bec CC Hill Climb

Gary Dodd no longer rides for the Kingston Phoenix (having had a much better offer from Sigma Sport, of course), but being married to Jake he can't get away from us, so we were all there cheering him in the Bec Hill Climb on Titsey Hill, on the Surrey/Kent border.
He was number 20 in a field of 89-odd riders and, in his first Time Trial as a genuine "Vet" he shot up the hill in a storming 1:49.1 - not quite as fast as his 1:44.4 record, but a race-winning ride neverless. Then we had to wait for over an hour until the final man - last year's winner Jody Crawforth - to see if it would be the best time today.
Well, actually it was a lousy day for it: the rain started for the last 20 or so riders in the morning Catford Hill Climb on York's Hill, and got heavier and heavier. It wasn't an especially cold day, but the wind chill on damp bodies was pretty high, leaving the spectators shivering by the end. Once again this year, both Hill Climbs had the field and spectators to give the day the feeling of the classic events that these were 25 years ago - when the results of the two events would have been the top story in the following week's "comic" - and all this despite the rain.
The contenders came and went, and the PA system kept us up with the results. Only a handful of riders bettered the 2 minute mark, and Gary's name was repeatedly mentioned as the early leader. Then came number 85 - Bill Bell, winner of the morning's Catford climb. His time came over the PA system - another 1:49, but not the seconds yet. Jody Crawforth finished and the crowd surged up the hill after him.
Enjoying the closed road this year - by far the safest arrangement for the event and the general public, especially as the route around is trivial in a car - the crowd gathered around the result board. Crawforth's time 1:52. So at worst Gary was second....
The timekeepers conferred. A buzz went round the crowd - both riders had clocked 1:49.1!
The timekeepers looked at their watches again, and attempted to split the riders on hundredths but, no, they had both been clocked at 1:49.07 and could not be split.
So Bill Bell (Gemini BC) and Gary Dodd (Sigma Sport RT) are the joint winners of the 51st Bec Hill Climb.

Not bad considering that Gary's aim for the event was a top 10 place and 1st veteran.

P.S. Ann also rode and did 3:56.2 with 3:58.7 in the Catford HC in the morning - and of course, she rode the two Brighton Mitre Hill Climbs on Saturday, but I've no idea what she did in them - other than win a snazzy bottle cage!

(Jen, did you get a decent pic of Gary and/or Ann on the climb - that we can add to the post? Either email it to me, if you did, or put it in another post and I will put it together)


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