C59 Love 03/02/2012
Photographer and owner unknown
What a nice way to celebrate your 80th birthday, by creating your own limited edition bike. The C59 Ottanta, decked in a classic gold Arabesque paint job, and 50s decals, it is in a limited edition of only 80 frames. I have no idea how much this costs….
When asked what it was like upon completing his first Catford Hill Climb, one rider exclaimed “It was the best two minutes of suffering all season“. Traditionally held on the first Sunday in October, this uniquely British style hill climb is a chance to close out your season with an adrenaline pumping, gut busting effort, mixed with a little “Alpine” atmosphere to push you along. These time trials shouldn’t be mistaken for the European monument climbs of the Alps, or even the American icons of Mt. Washington or Mt. Evans. They are unique in their length, type of effort, and setting. Run amongst the hedgerows and country lanes of England, often no wider than the width of a car, they usually average out at around 12.5% for about 1km. They are venues to win winter bragging rights amongst the cycling clubs of your region.
It is not too hard to define what type of rider excels at these types of challenges. The effort is explosive, and the type of rider the French would call “Dynamique” has probably got what it takes. An ability to suck up the pain is undoubtedly needed, but then again what type of climbing doesn’t need that. Track riders are often seen taking to the hill on fixed gears (I mean riders who actually ride on the velodrome), and powering their way through. Road riders strip down their bikes, get in the drops, and hold it for as long as they can, often crumpling into their saddles just before the top. To take a tip out of Cancellara’s training regime for the Belgium monuments, no out-of-the-saddle climbing until March is probably a good way to prepare. Power is the key to success.
One of the oldest events in the UK, The Catford Hill Climb has roots right back to 1887, and earns the auspicious title of “The Championship Of All England”. To give you a sense of the effort, it is held on York Hill and is “707 yards” (646m) in length. The average grade is around 12.5%, with a few bursts of 25%. The record for the climb stands at an impressive 1min 47 seconds, and has stood for 19 years. One note of interest, when the ride started back in 1887 the bike weight limit was 35lbs, even back then riders were obsessed about there bike weight. Riders travel in from all over the country and make the trip worthwhile by competing in the “4 climbs” series, stretching over the Saturday and the Sunday. The UK has seen a resurgence in the format over the last few years, with the introduction of the Urban Hill Climb organized by Rollapaluza in London. Unlike New York, London actually has a few pretty decent hills, with Swains Lane in Highgate providing the course. This year they had 120 riders tackle the 800m ascent with a height gain of 71m.
These events have been occupying my thoughts in the last few months as I have been riding around the hills of Litchfield County and the Berkshires, and it made me think why the format hasn’t caught on here, or in Europe for that matter. The region certainly has the hills–Great Hill Road or Geer Mountain Road come to mind. I also think I know enough riders who would throw themselves up a gradient in search of a little glory and maybe a little prize money. So the research starts now for us to host a Fall event next year in the Berkshire hills. The “Suffer between the hedges” hill climb time trial. I will work on the route and find the prizes. You bring your legs, lungs, and the lightest bike you can muster (no weight limits here), and we will take it from there.
Our new friend Joachim Baan from the great blog Another Something made us very jealous this morning. He pointed us in the direction of his new custom frame by the Dutch frame builder Elian. Joachim is a relatively new convert to the sport, but like most of us appears to have caught the “Bug“. After meeting Elian on local ride, it sounds like they spent most of their time in the saddle talking about what would be the perfect ride, and here it is. Made from a rare Ishiwata Gallant steel, and with some pretty unique angles, Joachim has certainly got himself a true original. A minimal stealth like paint job, with the only sign of a decal being the original Ishiwata CrMo Tubing sticker. Also a nice touch with the vintage Campagolo Biothermal aero bottle to finish of a nice retro looking road bike with a lot of sourced vintage parts. Make sure to check out Elian’s site, he has made a great collection of unique custom builds of all types.
In his own words:
“The handlebars are from Kiprim, an old French factory, found in the same factory as the tubes. The seatpost is from the Taiwanese company Kalloy (now known as Uno Kalloy) and is from the early 80′s. The saddle is something I really like. It is made by the Dutch company Lepper, but the production of this model was ended long time ago. Elian saw the old molds and asked if they wanted to make a special series for him only, and they agreed. It was made in a thicker leather as the original, with a newly developed ‘chassis’ and in a lovely black leather, specially made for me”.
A 1994 Corratec track bike from Germany in the IKO Corratec team colors. Ridden by Bruno Risi and Kurt Betschart to a world championship title. You have to love the design for the shear boldness to put five colors on a frame with polka dots. If this was the team frame design I would love to have seen the kit.
Photo by Speedbicycles