Posted: 21/10/2014 at 17:55
For hill repeats for run training Sutton Park is a good bet. In the park, there are some gradual hills and some much shorter, sharper climbs for hill efforts and lots of paths/roads for anything from 400m efforts to a 5k effort and longer if you need to. The MIdlands Fun Run has everbody worried about 'cardiac hill' just before Four Oaks Gate. I think I saw that you’re Erdington based so a little closer may be some of the roads leading off New Hall Valley such as Penns Lane, Wylde Green Road, Reddicap Hill (a good length and gradient IMO), Pilkington Avenue and some of the smaller roads around those areas. Braemar Rd (quiet) and Somerville Road (busier) close to the park might be useful. Roman Road at Little Aston is flat, but worth a run down, there are garages bigger than my house. A lap of the inside of the park from Town Gate is a nice run, maybe 6-7 miles, finishing for a brew and a bacon butty at the café, or start near Hartopp Gate and the Bistro for the same effect at double the price.
For cycling, there’s not an awful lot local. Pilkington Avenue is as steep as I can think of locally but although it's 10% ish, it’s short, a few 100m at most. My usual 100 mile route would take in no more than 1000-1100m of ascent and that’s without avoiding hills. To the SW of Birmingham you’ve got the Clent Hills, a few weeks ago I cycled around the South of Birmingham to West Brom, from Bromsgrove to Dudley via Stourbridge was perhaps 400-500m of ascent in under 15 miles IIRC. Further south you have the Malverns which is probably getting on towards the edge of my range from home even if I go down A38, the top of the Cotswolds is doable from Sutton, I went up a 2km long 10% average hill the other week that reminded me of home in Yorkshire. To the East you’re mostly on to the Trent Valley which is pancake flat although it starts to ripple a bit towards the Leicestershire border (The Whittington loop is flat but isn’t bad, on the bike or foot actually) although the hills off the A5 near Atherstone, Merevale Lane is one, usually have me blowing a bit, not sure how steep it is, 10% ish, can usually push close to 70kph going down it. To the North the bottom of the Peak District up towards Ashbourne and Uttoxeter starts to get hillier and Cannock Chase was on the ToB the other year. West of Birmingham to the other side of the Severn around Bewdley and Ludlow is more like home with some good hills. 9 times out of 10 sees me heading out one way or the other towards the Trent Valley and a café stop at Rosliston. IIRC one of the Coventry clubs has a map with local cycling cafés, obviously centred on Cov but a useful reference.
Local cycling clubs to you include Royal Sutton, don’t see their kit around much and the one email I sent them about club runs got an arsey reply, you see Lichfield CCC about a bit (At Rosliston café I once saw a family of three on identical Specialized bikes each in full LCCC kit, including arm and leg warmers, I couldn’t decide if it was a good look or not), Giro CC always seem a friendly bunch and there’s a new club pretty local to you call Boldmere Bullets, not strictly a club but a Strava based collective, (possibly to avoid any affiliation or insurance fees, I don’t know) who arranged a good series of individual Strava based TT’s and group rides called Le Tour de Boldmere and have a very active social scene. There’s also Concorde based in Coleshill although I don’t know much about them and BRAT, Birmingham Runners and Triathletes who have bases in the North (Sutton Coldfield) and South. Running clubs, Royal Sutton Coldfield AC is probably the closest, there's a more social group called Sally Ellis Fitness who run out of Wyndley Leisure Centre, BRAT again.