Merrick Hill Race 2023

The final counter in this year’s SHR Champs took place on Sunday at Merrick.

I’d heard it was a fine hill, but had never been there before. I suppose it is a fine hill, though the views were non-existent and I can’t say I enjoyed ultra-slippy steepness at the start and finish. There were a lot of bike miles in my legs so my “race” can be filed under “Enjoyable Tempo Run (Slowing Down by the End)”.

The poor visibility presented some navigational challenges – particularly in the second half. Despite being an out-n-back there was a particular point half way down where the WRONG path just looks SO RIGHT. I managed to avoid a misstep thanks to Mark Roper’s timely warnings, though some Westies weren’t so lucky. (I don’t name names, but I was surprised to beat Scott and Ella P despite them being so far ahead of me…) I had to make a brief stop with 1.5 miles to go to rescue Michael G – poor guy found himself attached to a deer-fence via his bum-bag and it took two of us to set him free to then enjoy a ‘challenging’ final effort of his own.

The stand-out performance was from Ella F who was first woman thanks to a blistering descent, making up a considerable gap from the top – no small feat given the calibre of the women at the sharp end. Ellen also smashed it with a strong fourth place. Chapeau the Westies Women!

So that’s 2023 done – roll on 2024!

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