Conquering Yorks Hill

Catford CC Hill Climb 2014

Thankfully it was a dry morning, York’s Hill had been closed to traffic, swept clean and was ready for over 100 competitors to start climbing in one-minute intervals of each other.


We all met up at the top of Yorks, Beth looked nervous but excited she’d got a place on the start list. Kyla had a determined look in her eye and Carolyn as always calm & cool as they pinned numbers onto their jerseys and discussed tactics.
I picked a spot about 25 meters from the finish line where the gradient hits a ridiculous 20% thinking that this is where they’re going to need encouragement. I was soon joined by more KVG support eagerly looking for a pink jersey to appear and ready to scream our lungs out.

 Kyla was first up, ‘the beast’ had been released; her two young boys and KVB Matt were cheering her up the hill as she past with gritted teeth. Carolyn was next, eyes focused on the tarmac quickly making her way through the narrow gap between supporters. Then finally Beth, the crowd was two deep by this point but she wasn’t fazed climbing out of the saddle all the way to the finish line.

Relief, excitement and stories on completing their hill climbs soon turned into elation when we saw Beth’s time of 2 mins 54.8 seconds, she was the second fastest female behind the current National hill champ and women’s vet winner! Celebratory bacon and egg baps followed rounding off a fantastic event and a successful day for the club.’

Report by Siuling Leung


Carolyn Swan:

I like a Challenge!!
From the moment Bee told me about the Catford Hill Climb I was interested in giving it a go. I went out for a ride on my own without a route planned and as I was descending Ide Hill decided to hang a right at the bottom and give Yorks Hill a try, generally I like a climb somewhere on a ride, Yorks Hill is certainly a tough one.  I started climbing, It was gentle at the start,  I was lulled into thinking it won’t be bad but then it gets norrow and steep with trees overhanging and the road surface is not great.  For me 60% of the challenge was in my head, I can’t do this, hang on a bit longer, keep pushing, oh no I really really can’t do this.  I reached the top and flopped over my handle bars, legs like lead and lungs bursting.


As I had made it up once I decided to enter the famous hill climb and thought it would be great if some more KVG’s did it with me. I mentioned it to Kyla who rose to the challenge by quietly having a practice on her own, I was delighted and pleased when she entered. Beth had seen Bee’s post on facebook and entered.
On the Saturday advance ride we did the super six as training, Toys Hill, Yorks Hill, Ide Hill, Hubbards, Bayleys and River Hill.  I am sure your asking why do all those hills in one go, well Suling suggested it and obviously we must love the hills.

I am really pleased I entered it was a great experience and I am going to do it next year with a load more training. Thank you to Matt and my boys for their encouragement and bike mech support.

Kyla Sykes:


After Carolyn mentioned the race, I thought it was a crazy idea.  I honestly don’t know why I thought this would be a good idea, but after I heard Carolyn, Beth and possibly a couple more KV girls had entered I wanted to be part of the team effort!  Needless to say I was a little anxious as I’d never entered a proper race before. 
After a short warm up half way up Yorks and a spin along the top I made my way gingerly down to the bottom of the hill with Carolyn and Beth.
Each minute a rider would set off.  I was 2nd up, mounted  my bike and clipped in and waited for my countdown. Deep breaths, 3-2-1.  It was quiet in that first section, then the gradient got tough.  I could hear the “deck chair” commentator  on the loud speaker and the crowds cheering. Around the corner fully and wham the gradient hits.  

The crowd shouting up up up! I didn’t feel my legs, didn’t see the people but felt the excitement in the air, one more push. I could see daylight at the top and the finish line. Where was that final kick in my legs? Held on and crossed the finish line
It was definitely an old boys club race and testosterone dominated. But the women there put on a good competition, they are strong girls. The KVG looked strong as a team and I reckon a few more of us next year and they won’t be asking “Why pink?” They’ll be asking “Why not pink?”! 
It Left me feeling inspired, wanting to do more training, be faster, be fitter. Next years training has already begun. 

Beth Jones


Catford CC didn’t receive some entries that were posted to them – mine(Beth), Carolyn’s & Viv’s were among them, so I decided not to enter as it wasn’t very clear whether we’d have places on the day or not. I was going to support Carolyn & Kyla. Went out for a nice ride on Sat afternoon, out for dinner, glass of wine…then picked up a message saying I had a place after all – if I wanted it. I thought I might as well, to keep the girls company!


There was a great vibe, brilliant supporters – KVG should hire them out – but not many women on the start sheet which is a real shame. The hill is as hard as you think it’s going to be, especially when you get a fast start from the push at the bottom! Keeping your lungs and legs working at the same time when you near the top is almost impossible! I felt as if I was cycling on the spot & it’s all you can do to keep upright.

Well, We all made it but I didn’t believe my time, took a while to sink in.


Think I’ll enter some more now, hopefully with some more ladies. There needs to be more women entering events.

Kyla, Beth and Carolyn all asked for special thanks to be given to the following:

To Suiling for all her support on the day and all the Saturday rides in preparation. A big thank you was also unanimously given to Bee Gregorie for her amazing support and to Hamish Gregorie and the rest of the KVG for cheering at the top of the hill.  Thank you also to Roger for taking their jackets at the bottom of the hill.

Thank you the KVG and Catford CC for your support and encouragement. We couldn’t have done it with out you!


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