On Sunday the 29th of October, the UK National Hill Climb Championships are coming to the Lake District. Cyclists will be battling it out against one another as they take on one of the most infamous climbs in the Lakes!
'The Struggle' is the local name given to the top section of the direct road between the Lakeland town of Ambleside and Kirkstone Pass. It's one of the most brutal climbs in the Lake District with its unforgiving steep slopes to start and notorious hairpin bends in the final metres of the climb!
The 4.3km route climbs 364m, averaging 8.3% for its entire duration, but can be split roughly into 3 sections. The first section starts a few hundred metres from the thriving heart of Ambleside and climbs steeply out of town staying over 10% for most of the first 500m, with sections closer to 20%. It eases ever so slightly but remains at a tough ramp for the entire first 2km. For context the first km averages 13.6% and will likely take all but the very top riders over 4 minutes.
The middle section of the climb is the easiest with gentler gradients of just 3 or 4% before the climb actually dips down again for around 400m, allowing riders to build up some speed for the final ramp to the top.
Photo credit: Ellen Isherwood
The third section, known as The Struggle hits after more than 3km of steep riding is in the legs and the final 600m averages 15.6% to arrive at the Kirkstone Inn Pub with many riders requiring the assistance of the 'catchers' once crossing the finish line on such a steep grade!
As well as hosting the 2023 National Hill Climb Champs, The Struggle Hill Climb will again be supporting the Great North Air Ambulance Charity, who saved race director Jack's life in 2017 after a cycling incident. VOOM are proudly sponsoring the UK National Hill Climb Championships along with Wheelbase, Wahoo, HUNT, Irwin Mitchell Solicitors and Romney’s Kendal Mint Cake.
We can't wait to get to the start line, power up the riders with VOOM products and cheer them on as they take on this epic climb. If you're in the area, please come and experience the event and cheer on the awesome riders who will very much be in the pane cave as they get towards the top of the struggle.
Want to know more about the Struggle Hill climb? We got out onto the course earlier in the year with our partners Rosti. Check out the route here, it may even inspire you to take on the challenge!
If you'd like to enter, please follow this link.