Rollapaluza Urban Hill Climb will burst your lungs

File this one under “100 Ways to Prove How Weak You Are”.

urban hillclimb, london, swain’s lane

When a friend pinged me a few days ago asking if I was interesting in pretending to be him and sprinting up the Swain’s Lane as part of the Rollapaluza Urban Hill Climb, I foolishly agreed. I had heard about the event in previous years, and since it’s 5 minutes from where I live thought that it’ll be a cool thing to try.

I’ve actually ridden up the Swain’s Lane (here’s the segment map in Strava) a few times before on a very slow pace, it’s tough even that way. Trying to go up as fast as possible is a different thing altogether.


Length: 800 meters
Vertical climb: 60 meters
Average gradient: 8.6%
Feeling at the top: WHY?!

There were tons of people cheering you on with “Allez!”, “Push it!” at the steepest part of the course, someone taking photos (check out the ones from last year on the competition website), so it almost felt like a 2 minut mini-Tour de France.

Competitor crossing the finishing line
Those two guys are there to catch the ones who have pedaled themselves into blackout.

Coming off the bike was a good excuse to promptly sit down and not move for a few minutes. My legs were totally toast. I’ve done climbs before but never this way. The massochist in me might sign up for next year’s event…

I don’t know what my time was, got to the start line on the last moment and forgot to start the timer. Will find out later from their website.

Results: 99th place out of 154 people who went uphill. 02:17 to do it, I’m pretty satisfied. Lost to the winner by 45 seconds which is huge for such a short distance but was to be expected. Official results »

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