Thirteen riders tackle annual Ralph Flowers Hill Climb Championship taken out by Brett Dal Pozzo
From the huge icons like the Col de Tourmalet to the vicious bergs of Europe, climbing mountains has always held a fascination for cyclists.
While Mt Clarence might not have the elevation or grandeur of a big European “col”, or be lined with snow banks as we see in the Giro, it is still a formidable climb at full gas and has been the site of Albany Cycle Club’s annual Ralph Flowers Hill Climb Championship for several years.
The course winds its way up Marine Parade from Middleton Beach to the top of Apex Drive, covering 3.7km and reaching inclines as steep as 13 per cent.
The hill climb has a long history at ACC, at one time climbing three separate hills in a day, before settling into the current course.
It has been won multiple times by club greats such as Brad Jones and Vic Gladish, while in more recent times Nav Coole and Craig Wiggins have hoisted the trophy more than once.
Last Saturday, despite dire predictions, the 13 riders who took on the challenge of getting to the top of Mt Clarence as quickly as possible, raced in near-perfect conditions.
Setting off at one-minute intervals, riders looked to maximise their effort and speed without blowing up.
There was a range of impressive performances with great rides on the day by Jeff Barnes and Shirley Thurston.
Barnes was one of eight riders who went under the 10-minute mark.
In the women, Liz Cooper was fastest at 11min.31sec. followed by Thurston and Jill Bascombe.
Normally hill climbs are the domain of the lightweights of the sport and gravity gets to sit back and have a giggle at those who get their money’s worth out of a set of scales, not, however, in this case.
In an excellent ride, Brett Dal Pozzo proved wrong the adage that big boys can’t climb.
One of two riders who finished in under the eight-minute mark, Dal Pozzo in his hill climb debut ripped up the hill in 7:53.
Just five seconds behind him was young gun Riley Heslop in 7:58 and Brent Schoof rounded out the podium in the cracking time of 8:45.
The club thanked its volunteers who marshalled and timed on the day as well as Six Degrees for sponsoring the after-race festivities.
The next race is the Keyser Cup Handicap on Saturday June 12.
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