'I knew I could go faster': Hill-climb champion Illi Gardner on how she mounted her assault on the title

The Everesting record-holder talks us through a busy week of training, recon and racing ahead of the national champs

Illi Gardner in action at the 2022 hill-climb national champs
(Image credit: Andy Jones)

Want to know how the best riders in the world train? For each article in this long-running MY WEEK IN TRAINING series from Cycling Weekly's print edition, we sit down with a pro rider who talks us through a recent week of training in granular detail. This time it's the turn of Illi Gardner...

Born in the UK but schooled in the USA, Illi Gardner returned to Wales in 2017 and over the next two seasons continued to develop her road racing prowess. During lockdown, Gardner’s taste for climbing took on a long-distance flavour, culminating in her breaking Emma Pooley’s Everesting record – a mark she improved on further this July. 

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David Bradford
Features editor

David Bradford is features editor of Cycling Weekly (print edition). He has been writing and editing professionally for more than 15 years, and has published work in national newspapers and magazines including the Independent, the Guardian, the Times, the Irish Times, Vice.com and Runner’s World. Alongside his love of cycling, David is a long-distance runner with a marathon PB of two hours 28 minutes. Having been diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) in 2006, he also writes about sight loss and hosts the podcast Ways of Not Seeing.