Tackling "The Struggle" Hill Climb 2023 Fuelled by KMC®

Tackling "The Struggle" Hill Climb 2023 Fuelled by KMC®

Embarking on a challenging hill climb is not just a test of physical strength and endurance, but a journey of self-discovery. The sense of achievement upon conquering a steep ascent is unparalleled. But every climber knows, the fuel you choose for your journey can make or break your experience. On a chilly morning, armed with a bike and a handful of Kendal Mint Co®’s energizing products, a number of KMC®-fuelled athletes and teams set out to tackle the infamous Struggle Hill.

Photo credits: Wheelbase and Fraser Minnican

(Event not sponsored by official Kendal Mint Co® / KMC®)


The Struggle Hill Climb: Things to know!

Struggle Hill, with its steep gradients and winding paths, is not for the faint-hearted. The ascent demands a blend of physical grit and mental fortitude. Pedaling up the challenging slopes, the panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes can provide a scenic respite to the burning thighs. That's if you can find a second to breathe!

  • The Struggle Hill Climb covers a distance of 2.67 miles on a closed road course, making it a demanding challenge for cyclists​.
  • The official hill climb course is a 4.31 km segment with an elevation gain of 370 meters, and a difference in elevation of 364 meters from the lowest to the highest point​.
  • The average gradient is 8.2% with some sections reaching a max gradient of 24%.
  • The elevation starts at 80 meters and reaches up to 444 meters at its highest point.

The Event was started in 2019 by Jack Talbot, all in aid of the fantastic Great North Air Ambulance, who saved Jack's life in 2017.

The Results of The Struggle National Hill Climb Championships: Athletes Fuelled by KMC

position number firstname lastname gender club ctt_number time
12 419 Lee Rosie Male WHEELBASE CABTECH CASTELLI 40619 13:50.0
14 464 Andy Cunningham Male WHEELBASE CABTECH CASTELLI 7326 13:51.0
40 441 Thomas Armstrong Male WHEELBASE CABTECH CASTELLI 48897 14:41.0
458 Louis Moore Male WHEELBASE CABTECH CASTELLI 49054 00:00.0
452 Giles Drake Male WHEELBASE CABTECH CASTELLI 23204 00:00.0
87 376 Fraser Minnican Male Barrow Central Wheelers 44030 15:31.0

Fuelling the National Hill Climb Championships: How to

A hill climb is short and sharp. Much like a sprint, you need to optimise all your nutrition beforehand to ensure you perform your best for the very quick but incredibly high-intensity climbing.


1. Fuelling starts at Breakfast or meal time 2-3 hours before the event

We recommend starting your day by taking onboard some easily digestible carbohydrates. Ideally Low GI, at least 2-3 hours before you start your ride. This gives your body plenty of time to digest the food and helps top-up those energy stores (glyogen) early on. 

Aim for around 500 calories, with roughly 130g of Carbohydate. It's best to avoid anything with lots of Fibre or Fat because this can hinder your performance.

A good example might be some toast with honey, or porridge, jam etc. You can always snack on the go at least 2 hours before hand using the KMC Superfood bar with 40g of Carbohydrate or Rolled Oat Bar with 38g Carbohydrate.

2. Hydrate on your way to the event

Dehydration can significantly impair your performance. You won't be carrying a bottle up the hill because you want to stay light, so the only way to stay hydrated properly is by focusing on it before.

Top-tip: Fill your bottle with 500ml of water and one serve of KMC ISO MIX - then keep drinking from it on the way to the event. Whether your driving, cycling or taking other transport. This will help top up your Carbohydrates with 34g of Carb, and all 4 essential electrolytes.

You can also do the same the night before.

3. Carbohydrates before

It's not really possible to top up your carbs during the Hill Climb, and let's be honest, you don't want to try and balance up a 24% incline whilst taking a gel or to have to carry the extra weight. So again, the best solution is pre-race.

Our top-tip: Top-up your Carbohydrate 20-60 mins before your climb with an easily digestible, gentle on the stomach KMC Energy Gel for 27g of Dual Charge Carbohydrate, 4 electrolytes and B Vitamins to maximise the energy available to your muscles. You can also try Supercharging your performance with a KMC NRG GEL+ Caffeine Gel 20 mins pre-race.

4. Caffeine can be your friend

Did you know, Caffeine is scientifically proven to increase muscular endurance and reduce fatigue, as well as the boost in alertness. It essentially allows you to move with greater intensity. 

Caffeine also increases the production of adrenaline in the body, which can help athletes push through fatigue and maintain a higher level of performance.

Caffeine has been found to increase alertness and reaction time, making it especially beneficial for sports that require quick reactions. Studies have shown that athletes who consume caffeine before a competition are better able to focus and perform at a higher level than those who don't.

Although it has all of these great benefits, like all things it must be taken in balance. It will hinder hydration and can have a negative effect on some digestive systems, so take it in moderation.

Our top-tip: Consume one KMC NRG GEL+ Caffeine Energy Gel about 15 minutes before your climb then keep sipping on your drink afterwards.

In summary

Whether you are an avid cyclist or someone looking for a wholesome outdoor experience, having the right nutritional companions is crucial. Kendal Mint Co’s range of products not only delivers on the promise of sustained energy but adds a unique, refreshing twist to the adventure. Fuel your ride with KMC here.

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