Craig Rogers (Biology 2018) has been busy on the road over the summer. The cyclist won the Ian Mountain Memorial Road Race, finished second at the Cold Dark North Road Race and also took part in Wales’ gruelling Harlech ‘Hell’ Climb.
He says: “I finished sixth place in Harlech and was pretty happy as it was a good field. It’s recently been recognised as the steepest climb in the world, so was just a bit different to cycling in Cambridge.”
The 19-year-old has been cycling competitively for five years and has been part of the Welsh Junior Programme and the British Cycling programme. He is now a member of Cambridge University Cycling Club and competes all over the country.
He lives near Chester when he’s not studying at Fitzwilliam College, and during the summer break Craig has been taking part in road races in Wakefield and Oakenclough in Cumbria. Most recently, he raced on the world’s steepest street, Ffordd Pen Llech in Harlech, Snowdonia.
It was the inaugural event this year on the climb, which a few weeks earlier was officially named as the steepest street in the world by the Guinness World Records. It replaced the previous record holder, Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand, which has a steepest gradient of 35%. Ffordd Pen Llech stretches across 310 metres with a steepest gradient of 37.45%. It also has a 50 metres elevation gain and a 17% average gradient.
With each race Craig has also been raising awareness about a charity that is important to him – Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).
He says: “They offer subsidised heart tests for people aged 14 to 35. I think it is definitely worthwhile being tested – particularly for anyone participating in sport.
Some national governing bodies have already made it mandatory for anyone who wants to be part of a programme.
“After a death within the sport, many people who I race against were tested – including me – thanks to CRY. It has found abnormalities in other people which needed attention, given the strain sport puts on the heart.”
Road races can take between two to four hours to complete, and tend to be held earlier on in the year. Now Craig is training for timed hill climbs, like Harlech, which are much shorter in duration. He was 11 seconds behind winner Calum Brown, who completed the ascent in 50 seconds.
He continues: “I can train for hill climbs on low volume so I can fit them in with my College work. The gym at College is really useful – we have a British Cycling-approved Wattbike available there, which was a nice surprise!
“I sometimes go to Chapel Hill [between Haslingfield and Barrington in Cambridge] for practice too but it’s only one of two hills locally that fit the bill!”
Craig will next tackle three hill climbs in October, including BUCS (British Universities & Colleges Sport) Hill Climb in Mam Tor in the Peak District, the National Hill Climb at Haytor Vale in Devon, and Catford Hill Climb near Sevenoaks – the oldest continuing bike race in the world.
Photo: Kieran Metcalfe Photography