We need to talk about the Beacon…
With just one day left to enter the Hill Climb, this week’s news is one final attempt to convince any fence-sitters out there to take a deep breath, step forward and sign up. I managed to actually make it out on my bike on Sunday for a club run, and found that other than cake crumbs there only other thing on Nomads’ lips was ‘that effing hill climb!’ It’s clear that this seemingly benign hill inhabits a dark place in the Nomads’ collective consciousness. It may be ‘our’ local hill, but it casts a shadow over our meeting point in Ditchling like some lumbering bully from our school days. It’s the elephant in the room of our club-run list. Happily we shun it in our weekly club runs, turning to ride north, east or west to tackle other lesser climbs like Box Hill. Indeed, those of us who live in Brighton will often plot a route home that takes us along the filthy cycle path that gently slopes alongside the A27 rather than try and haul ourselves over the ‘bloody’ beacon at the end of a club run.
So, is it because there is no pain-free way to cycle up the Beacon that it is hated so much? Is it the ever-changing gradients – hidden by the constant bends – that tempt you one moment into thinking that you can go harder, then just as quickly ramping up again to punish your legs and force you back down into the saddle? Or the relative shortness of it which tempts you at the start into thinking that it can be tackled in one sustained all-out, stem-biting effort, only for the utter folly of this plan to be painfully revealed less than 30 seconds in? How many of us have returned from a cycling holiday where we’ve proudly tackled some monster of a mountain in France, Italy or Spain only to discover that all that Euro-strength in our legs doesn’t translate at all and still leaves us short-changed on the Beacon? So anyway, all this is to say that, yes, I really understand why so many of you are reluctant to sign-up for the Hill Climb. I don’t want to do it either. It will hurt. It will REALLY hurt. You will taste your lungs. However expensive the kit is that you wear, it will be uncomfortable and clammy soon after the start. Your heart will try to break through your rib-cage, and the blood massing in your calves and thighs will scream at you like hot lighter fluid. ‘Shut up legs’ might go through your mind. (‘Shut up Alex’ might be going through your mind now – sorry.) When it is over, you will be shattered. You’ll be desperate to catch your breath again. You will. You’ll grimace and maybe make some primeval snorting sound. There might be some snot. There will definitely be sweat. But your legs will shut up. And you will smile…eventually… because it will be over and you will have done it. Pride will be mixed with relief. You might be disappointed at your time, but you won’t be disappointed that you did it. And then – but only then – you can go back to ignoring the Beacon… at least until next year. So how about it?
If you want to feel really proud of yourself on Sunday 29th October for doing something that you really didn’t want to do click here. You’ll be joining the following reluctant Nomad-numpties who’ve been inexplicably drawn (or pestered) into the shortest but hardest challenge of the year:
Entries close at midnight on Tuesday 17th October.
Ben G (Jnr) and Gemma for once again getting onto the podium in the hill climbs they took on this weekend. Ben was the 3rd Junior at the Firle Beacon climb on Saturday, whilst Gemma also came 3rd in the Holme Moss hill climb on the same day. Chapeau!
Photo courtesy of EmGearingPhotography ( Twitter @ems_gearing )
Events in the Nomads This Week
Thursday 19th October
– 7pm-8pm: Winter chain gang at Preston Park – There was a great session last Thursday – Join the WhatsApp group or reply to this email to find out if it’ll happen this week.
Saturday 21st October
– Road race training and certification at Ardingly Showground. Entries already open on Rider HQ Click Here
Sunday 22nd October
– 9am Club Run. If Belinda Carlisle thinks ‘Heaven is a place on earth’ she may well have been referring to this week’s destination – the Stable’s Tea Room, Heaven farm, Uckfield.
– 10-2pm Cyclo-X at Ardingly – Can Gary make hay whilst Helen recovers from her holiday mishap?
Have a lovely week – Alex