Minehead Cycling Club’s inaugural time trial Hill Climb event up the Porlock Toll road on Sunday 29 September has attracted some of the country’s leading climbers, but the star attraction and a true legend of recent times, will be Wendy Houvenaghel, a member of the all-conquering Great Britain Track Cycling team. Between 2008 -2012 her haul of 3 World Championship Gold medals in the Team Pursuit, 4 silvers at both Individual and Team Pursuit plus a silver in the Individual Pursuit at the Beijing Olympics mark her out as one of the country’s most successful riders of all time. Competing for the extensive prize list will be National Championship riders as well as a contingent of local and club cyclists.
Club Chairman Bernie Mitchell said “ The first staging of this exciting addition to the national cycling calendar has attracted a field of 88 top class riders from all over the west of England and beyond.
“The timed ascent of the iconic almost Alpine 4 mile climb, which Porlock Manor Estate is closing to traffic for the duration, will give the riders a rare chance to compete on a traffic-free road in one of the most scenic areas in Somerset. The route and particularly the finish are absolutely superb for spectators. The Exmoor Explorer Mountain Bike race committee has generously donated all of the extensive prize money and people from Porlock Village Hall are providing the riders catering facilities and many of the event marshals. West Somerset College Design and Technology students have designed the winners’ trophies specifically for the event.
The first rider departs at 11.01am with the remainder setting off at 1 minute intervals and I think spectators will be staggered at the rate these athletes will complete the ascent. After competing, Wendy has also agreed to present the prizes in the Village Hall at 2.0pm.
To give non-competitive cyclists and families a chance to take in the atmosphere the Club has organised the untimed Porlock Pedal starting at 1pm and casually cycling the 2 mile distance up to the Toll House. Entries are £2 per rider and anyone wishing to take part will need to sign in on the day at the Village Hall before the event. Any type of bike will be acceptable, even trikes and electric ones.”