A Corinthian Endeavour by Paul Jones is the story and history of the National Hill Climb Championship. Hill climbing as a pursuit in cycling is an oddly unique thing to the British racing scene. Often seen as an end of season time trial event, over the years has been the proving ground of British pros, and more often, that of a specialist with a talent for suffering like no one else. Outside England this form of racing is very marginal. Here it is, for those that know, a real test of a riders ability to ‘dig deep’ and to allures riders and spectators alike for these reasons.
Paul’s book is the only I’m aware of and is a fascinating read. Covering the greatest riders, courses, bikes and more. Especially fascinating is the British pros who seemed to use it as an opportunity to win and springboard their abilities. But then the specialist who makes the hill climb his main goal and focus is a special breed, who seem to shun biscuits… Why I never made it as a hill climber (and stopped after one event).
For those interested in British racing, this book is a must have. It puts some interesting context in to the history and narrative insights to the top riders of each decade on how they thought. The book is intelligently written with enough humour to stop it turning into a geography teacher’s slide show – dry. What is better is that Paul himself has been a very accomplished hill climber himself so the insights are truly felt.