The Urban Hill Climb on Swain’s Lane in Highgate, made a welcome return this Saturday with over 200 riders taking part. There were a number of categories with men, women, youth, veterans and even cargo bikes represented.
Swain’s Lane is a well-known climb in this part of town that locals like to test themselves on and is arguably the most famous in London. At 900m it’s not the longest, but with sections as steep as 18% it’s not to be sniffed at. In 2014 Stanislav Cmakal ‘everested’ Swain’s Lane by ascending it 142 times in one day!
The accepted wisdom is that you should start at a steady pace and not get out of the saddle until the cemetery gates when it starts to ramp up. Anything under two minutes for the entire climb will put you into the top 25 on strava.
Chapeau, then, to the cargo bike riders who had to carry the weight of a 25kg child who squirted spectators with a water gun on the way up!
Rollapaluza and Rapha joined forces to lay on the event and they put on a great show on closed roads. It’s an opportunity to see the riders and the agony etched onto their faces in full close up.
The winner was Isaac Mundy, local boy and reigning champion from 2013 (the last time the event was held). Having used the hill for training for years he had something of an advantage but his time of 1 minute 21 seconds was extremely impressive. The women’s winner was Emma Grant in 1 minute 48 seconds.