Nicholas Charlton-Smith, who came second in the seven hills challenge, at East Afton Down. Picture by Robin Crossley.
CYCLISTS took the meaning of the word endurance to a whole new level last weekend when they tackled the annual Hills Killer challenge in appalling conditions.
In the worst weather organisers said they had ever experienced, around 200 cyclists — including Olympic gold medallist rower Louis Attrill — set off on either the three hills, seven hills and 14 hills challenges, with a good proportion of them completing it despite high winds and torrential rain.
Some were so cold and weather beaten that by the time they returned to the main base at Broadlea Primary School, they had mild hypothermia.
"We’ve had some bad weather and some muddy years in the past but this year was the worst by far," said organiser Claire Critchison. "I was so proud of all those who took part, they all did fantastically well. I was just glad that we had an indoor base to finish at Broadlea, so they had a warm welcome when they got back.
"Everyone returned in the end, either on their bike or by getting a lift in a car."
Almost 30 riders made a start in the 14 hills challenge, but only nine finished, and it was won by Islander Ross Haydon, in a time of 5.59.56.
Just eight riders opted to take part in the three hills challenge, with five finishing. Matthew Leal won in a time of 2.21.16, while the biggest entry was reserved for the main event, the seven hills killer, with 114 finishers out of a total of 163. Tim Wiggins, a member of the Wightlink Cycle Race Team, won the event in an incredible time of 2.11.40, eight minutes ahead of another Islander, Nicholas Charlton-Smith, and more than half an hour ahead of third-placed junior Tim Isaac.
The fastest man and woman to finish the seven and 14 hills challenges won a Mio Cycle navigation device. Therefore, Tim Wiggins and Ross Haydon received prizes, as did Emily Moore, who came 12th overall in the seven hills challenge, in a time of 2.57.47.
• Results in the Friday, September 28, County Press.
• Pictures from our online gallery www.iwcpgallery.co.uk below.
Click on the image for a larger version.