A clear sky and gentle tail wind greeted the riders at the 86th Monsal hill climb event on Sunday 2 October. This is a very popular hill climb in the Peak District which attracts a lot of top riders and has an impressive list of past winners, including Tommy Simpson, Malcolm Elliot (who still holds the course record from 1981), Adam Blythe and Russell Downing.
The course itself is only 675 yards but, after a fast opening section, kicks up to 20% as it heads into the barrier section with the crowds both sides cheering and the cow bells ringing right to the finish. This year there were 155 starters going off at 1 minute intervals, including Ben Swift of Team Sky, who had raced the Tour of Lombardi the day before.
Jamie Dene and Joe Bennett (in his first hill climb event) both started early and posted great times, which after a long nervous wait watching the other riders, resulted in 2nd and 3rd places respectively in the youth category. In the overall places, Russell Downing posted a course PB, but still only finished 3rd, with Adam Kenway the winner. Big Malc (his record safe for another year) was on hand to present the prizes.