The 2022 Road Time Trials Council National Hill Climb Championships or the “Showdown on the Shoe” were held on the 30th October on the Old Shoe. The narrow road behind the Ponderosa that runs parallel to the Horseshoe Pass.
The Old Shoe
The Championships were promoted by Velotik Racing Team and Wrexham Roads Club on behalf of the Liverpool District Council. They represented the end of a three-year project spearheaded by David Williams whose ambition it was to hold a hill climb on the Old Shoe and also turn it into a national championship course. Over 400 competitors took part in the six categories: men, women, junior men, junior women, and the men’s and women’s teams.
David said, “On the 7th October 2018, I stood in the Ponderosa Cafe waiting for the last few times to be passed to me for the remaining riders of the Wrexham RC Horseshoe Pass Hillclimb. “As I was waiting, I glanced towards the summit of the Old Shoe and thought to myself what an awesome race that could be. Free from traffic and crowds filling the side of the road shouting on the brave souls giving it their all. “So, I approached the Liverpool District and said I think we should hold the National Hillclimb on this climb. Two years later, I had an email saying that the Cycling Time Trials had agreed to award Liverpool District the National Hillclimb Championships in 2022.
The Old Shoe is an absolutely brutal climb. Rising 194 metres in 1.55km (0.96 miles) with an average gradient of 12.5%. However, there are stretches where it is close to 20% (1 in 5)! Just to put that into context, theclimbingcyclist.com says that a gradient of between 10 and 15% is “painful. Especially if maintained for any length of time”. 16%+ is “very challenging for riders of all abilities. Maintaining this sort of incline for any length of time is very painful”. You even have to negotiate a cattle grid at one point!
Steep Twisty Gradients
On this subject, David added, “The Old Shoe, what a climb, it’s an absolutely relentless hill with its straight progressive start, cattle grid and then steep twisty gradients. I’m sure the crowds of supporters will cheer on the competitors to the finish. Signs along the way saying “It’s Just A Hill – Get Over It” and “Pain Is Weakness Leaving The Body” are testament to the route’s severity. Congratulations to Aisling Charlesworth of Fibrax Wrexham RC for winning the 11-year-old junior women age award and finishing fourth in the Junior Women category. Bethan Pimble, also of Fibrax Wrexham placed 11th overall in the Junior Women section. Fastest on the day was Andrew Feather of HuntBikeWheels.com. He finished the course in an astounding 5 minutes and 29 seconds.
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