All you need to know about the 2022 National Hill Climb Championships

On Sunday the 30th of October, the men and women of Britain’s unique hill climb scene will be taking on the DO/604 climb battling it out for the coveted National Hillclimb Championships in Wales! The climb is known as “Old Shoe”, running parallel to Horseshoe Pass –  a better known climb along an A-road, however Old Shoe is steeper and shorter. The climb’s main statistics are…

  • Length: 1.55km 
  • Average gradient: 12.5% 
  • Maximum gradient: 15% 
  • KOM: 5 min 47s, 2,016m/h VAM 
  • QOM: 6 min 58s, 1,673m/h VAM 

It’s short and steep. I imagine the Strava leaderboards will be disrupted somewhat this weekend, especially with the forecasted tailwind. 

Course Forecast

You can see the forecasted course here in detail but here are the broad strokes… 

  • It’s nicer than last year!

    For those of you that remember, the National Hill Climb champs last year were raced in biblical conditions. This year, no such conditions shall occur. The weather will actually be quite pleasant for the duration of the event. It will be between 11 and 13 degrees for most riders with a chance of rain but it may remain dry.
  • Tailwind all day 

    Every rider will have a tailwind that will pick up slightly during the day. We can even use a myWindsock forecast to see how much difference that will make. Let’s see how we do that.

Introducing our virtual rider

I would like to introduce our virtual test rider, we shall name them Sam. Sam and their bike is 70kg and has 350W for the duration of the course. We will run two little tests on our virtual rider to demonstrate some of the power of myWindsock! If you wish to have a proper route around, premium features on this forecast are available for free!

What happens if Sam starts at 9am or 10am? 

Well, the wind direction doesn’t change at all and it picks up from a forecasted 5.1m/s at the time of the first rider heading off, peaking at 5.6m/s and dropping back down to around 5m/s for the last few riders.

  • 9am start : 6 minutes and 37 seconds
  • 10am start: 6 minutes and 36 seconds
  • 1pm start : 6 minutes and 38 seconds

We see very small differences within the error window for forecasting. It seems the weather will not make a huge difference come race day.

How should Sam pace the effort?

myWindsock allows us to accurately and confidently predict our performance. As a result, we can go in feeling prepared.

The gradient changes throughout – with the steepest portion at the top of the climb. We can also see a dramatic flattening of the climb in the last minute of the effort. Gradient is just one of a number of metrics we should use with a general rule of thumb being to go harder on the steeper sections and easier on the flatter sections.

Should Sam stand up or sit down? 

Aero matters in a hill climb. If we stand up our rider’s cda changes from 0.30 up to 0.37 – this is a huge aero penalty. What time difference does this make in our scenario?

  • Stood up : 6 minutes and 36 seconds
  • Sat down: 6 minutes and 40 seconds

We have barely scratched the surface of what you can do with myWindsock as a means of predicting your performance. If you want ultimate confidence and a host of features click here to sign up!