Beacon Roads Cycling Club
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The Jack Clements Memorial Little Mountain Time Trial

The Hill Climbs

Photo by George Barker

Daniel Soltys (Wrekinsport CC)
2007 hill-climbs winner

Beacon RCC's Little Mountain Time Trial isn't quite what its name might suggest: there aren't any mountains. But, on your way round a course that tests just about every skill a racing cyclist should aspire to, you'll come across several hills that you won't forget in a hurry. Two of them - Stanford Bank and Ankerdine Hill - are individually timed, and there is a special prize for the fastest aggregate hill climb performance.

Stanford Bank

Stanford Bank is a steep section of road midway up the longest climb on the course. After crossing the Teme at Stanford Bridge, nearly 20 miles into the race, the westbound B4203 begins to climb. The ascent is quite gentle at first, rising toward the hillside church where Jack Clements himself has his memorial. But as the church draws near, the road straightens out and Stanford Bank stretches up to its full height before you. The timed section is 17% and about 0.6 miles long: most of it dead straight, with woodland on either side, before swinging left, shortly before the timekeeper's station. One of the toughest things about Stanford is that the top of the bank doesn't actually mark the end of the climbing: the road continues to go up all the way the Upper Sapey crossroads, another mile along the course. Anyone who digs a little too deep on the bank pays dearly on the false flat that follows.

Bottom timing point: Public footpath/bridleway sign in gateway just after turn to Orleton
Top timing point: BT cover on uphill side of gated track

Ankerdine Hill

Photo by Paul Deane

Tour of Britain peloton climbing Ankerdine Hill on 12th September 2007

Ankerdine isn't nearly as long as the climb from Stanford Bridge to Upper Sapey, and only briefly matches the first hill climb's gradient. Yet many competitors find it every bit as tough. That has a lot to do with where it comes in the race. More than 33 demanding miles have been covered before the riders swing north off the eastbound A44 to tackle Ankerdine. That means over one-hour-twenty for the best and more like one-forty for most. What's more, the climb comes immediately after the quickest section of the whole course: the sweeping descent from Bromyard Downs and a couple of fast miles along the Teme Valley floor. The abrupt change asks a great deal of a racer's physical and mental strength. But it would be quite wrong to suggest that Ankerdine just seems tough to tired riders. Climbing it at speed is demanding at any time. For one thing, the hill is preceded by a sharp right-hander, which means you start the climb with very little momentum. Then the gradient constantly changes, making it hard to find a rhythm or even settle on a gear. The steepest section is over by the time you reach Sunningdale, about halfway up. But the suffering certainly isn't. The gradient repeatedly eases just enough to offer the tantalising prospect of respite, which disappears before you can touch it. The wooded 0.7-mile climb ends with a left-hand bend, through a cluster of whitewashed houses at the summit. The 2007 Tour of Britain came to Worcestershire and climbed the famous ascent of Ankerdine. For a bit of fun we timed the lead group as they climbed Ankerdine and have compared their time with the fastest times recorded in the Little Mountain TT [details].

Bottom timing point: Signpost opposite Church - the one nearest to the Church gate
Top timing point: Cats-eye nearest to south gatepost (left hand post looking from road) of Hayword House


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