Swain's Lane in Highgate makes for a short, sharp shock close to heart of the capital...

For many club cyclists in Britain, the nights drawing in and leaves falling from the trees means one thing - hill climb season. One event that has quickly established itself as a firm favourite among riders in the capital and beyond is the Sinclair Pharma Urban Hill Climb, drawing hundreds of participants from the capital and beyond.

Held on a short but brutal closed road course whose toughest section is flanked on either side by Highgate Cemetery - the gradient starts at 6 per cent then ramps up steadily to a leg-sapping 20 per cent before easing back to a slightly kinder 16 per cent ahead of the finish - this year's edition, held on Saturday afternoon, drew more than 200 cyclists of all ages plus a sizeable crowd to cheer them on.

Besides the main men's and women's categories, there were ones for veterans, youths and juniors as well as a separate one for cargo bikes - not one for the faint hearted as it involved loading up with a couple of (empty) beer barrels before taking on the climb.

Caspar Hughes of the cycling events company Rollapaliuza, which devised and runs the Urban Hill Climb, told road.cc:  "Closing a road in north London next to a large cemetery, to allow two hundred and forty nine people to race to the top, as quickly as they can is a real challenge.

"This years event was the best Sinclair Pharma Urban Hill Climb my team have put on yet The weather held for all two hundred and forty odd starters and we look forward to making the event even better next year."

You can find more details of the event and full results here.

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Rider waiting at the start.

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Cargo bike laden with beer barrels.

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The entrances to Highgate Cemetery mark the start of the toughest section.

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The pain starts to set in.

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Hitting the steepest section of the course.

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The finish line.

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Close fought men's final, run as a head-to-head race.

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Tough going on a road bike, but well done for even attempting it with a Pedal Me bike taxi ....

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Over and out.

All pictures copyright Simon MacMichael, video courtesy Urban Hill Climb on Facebook.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

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