The BUCS Hill Climb is back and is set to be bigger than ever. This annual event is one of the first for UWE cyclists and counts towards UWE Bristol’s wider Varsity Series efforts. We’ve been talking to UWE Cycling Club President, Luke Alexandre to find out how he gets motivated to race and what he loves about the event.
How long have you been cycling?
Years! I’ve been riding bikes all my life, but from a competition point of view, it’s really been the last 3 years where it’s taken off. I started racing seriously 3 years ago, and have progressed from there.
What’s the best motivation for training?
The best motivation to train is from racing itself. If I get a bad result and get dropped, there’s always the thought that I could have done better had I trained more. If it’s a good result, then I have the drive to train as the feeling of winning is so great! I’ve just started with a coach too and having someone there to push me is really motivating. It also helps manage training time with other life commitments too as training is much more structured.
What’s the hardest challenge about Hill Climbs?
Most road races I do range from between 50 minutes and 3 hours which are quite long in duration. Hill Climbs usually last between 2 to 8 minutes, so far shorter. The intensity is so high and the effort required is so much greater than road racing; the pain is huge! The hardest part has to be pushing through the burning lungs and searing legs to get to the finish. 2.5 minutes may not seem like a long time but it feels like eternity when you’re working at your limit!
Are you more exhausted or elated after a Hill Climb race?
It’s a mixture of both really! For the first few minutes pure exhaustion takes over and you can barely stand whilst your heart rate subsides, but once the pain has reduced it’s all great! It feels brilliant to know that you have completely emptied yourself and pushed yourself as hard as you can. The rush of endorphins that most athletes are probably familiar with feels great too, and the buzz leaves you on a high!
What’s your next big challenge?
In 2018 I would like to get some decent results in bigger road races. This year was my first competing in larger road races so next year will be a full season competing at that level. A solid winter of training will hopefully put me in good stead for that, but for now, the biggest challenge will be not eating too much cake in the off season…!
This year’s Hill Climb is open to other cyclists and cycling/triathlon clubs in the South West and is taking place next Saturday 28 October 2017.
If you want to find out more about the Hill Climb, watch what it takes to peddle up Belmont Hill and support Team UWE, head to the top of Belmont Hill on Saturday when the racing starts from 9 am.