Red Bull Hillchasers 2014 – Edinburgh

Shanaze Reade and Participants - Lifestyle

A few days before the Red Bull Hillchasers, Nick from Charge Bikes got in touch to check whether I was going. I was meant to be, but I had a few questions as Edinburgh is so damn far away and I was facing an 18 hour round trip to attend.

Firstly, I asked, ‘will it be fun,’ and next I enquired whether there would be a women’s category.’ What I really wanted to know was whether I was going to do horribly, come last and look like a nobhead left miles behind whilst everyone else pegged it up the hill.

I didn’t ask the final question, instead deciding to keep my neuroses to myself, but pleased that the organiser were sensible enough to include a women’s race I booked a train from my lovely home in Devon to the beautiful city of Edinburgh.

The race took place on The Mound, a hill stretching up from the main shopping street to the castle perched above. The first part looked fairly straight forward but near the top there was a sharp bend before a  cobbled section to the finish line.

I’d decided to ride a fixed gear as I’m just so familiar with riding one, plus I liked the idea of just concentrating on pedalling rather than faffing around with gears and possibly getting it wrong. As for gear ratio, well, I just left it as I already had it.

Once the qualifications were over, the main races saw groups of ten riders set off at once and sprint their way to the top. I was pretty nervous about riding with Shanaze Reade in the final, as she’s not only brutally strong, but also rather intimidating  – she doesn’t think twice about cutting people up (and rightly so, it’s a race after all!). Oh, and she’s an Olympic/World Champ superstar BMXer.


We all lined up at the start gate and my main thoughts were ‘stay out of Shanaze’s way,’ and ‘am I going to totally suck at this?’ But when the start gates dropped I got away alright and with a few strong pedals, I actually seemed to be doing quite well. Shanaze sprinted off, off and away, and as I kept cranking, I began to wonder whether I could actually do alright!

I kept blasting away up the hill, surprised by the fact I wasn’t coming last, and I guess that gave me a little boost that helped speed me on. As we approached the tight bend at the top, I became aware of Anna Glowinski fairly close behind me, and felt absolutely sure that she’d overtake me before the line. I tried as hard as I could not to let her pass me, wanting to feel that whatever happened I’d given it my all. And to my great surprise, I clung onto my lead and came second. YAY!

I was absolutely delighted to share the podium with Shanaze and my pal Anna Glowinski. Woo hoo!!!

Click here for a video with me air punching as I cross the line, haha!

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