Thursday, January 1, 2009

San Bruno Hill Climb Race Report

Category: Elite 3
Field Size: 20

Conditions: Cold, some winds, and a fog that got worse as you climbed higher

What better than a hill climb to kick off the new year?!? Ok, there probably are better things to do, but doing this the past two years how could I not do it again this year. My strategy was to race in the 3's to see if I could gain any BAT points for placing in the top 10 and to follow moves until I blew up.

Today wasn't a day for pacing. The goal was to go hard, find some strong wheels to follow and forget about going over my threshold. I was able to get a good warm-up in and things were going fine until I started to get ready for the start. A weird rattle was coming from my right shoe. I checked all the screws on the cleats and no luck. I got back on the bike to see if the cleat was loose, but it was solid. I double checked the cleat again and found that the rattle was coming from the end of the toe area. After playing around with my bootie I had an interesting surprise; a shiny new quarter fell out of my shoe! Whew, finding the source of the rattle was a relief, but losing 0.25 grams was a need to take change for the park entrance with me.

At the start the 3's were immediately in front of the M35+ 1/2/3's. Seeing those fast guys on my tail was actually a good thing. I knew they were planning to make a big effort to work themselves around the pack and get to the front. They'd be my ticket to get up there too. The whistle blew and we were off. Sure enough the leaders in the 35's came around (Chris Phipps, Tim Clark, Kevin Metcalfe, Michael Hernandez) and I latched on. Soon we were a lead group of around 30 riders and going strong, real strong. There was some draft available at the back of the pack, but not much. I was able to hang with this lead group for about the first 40% of the race (definitely a mental victory). There were some surges at the front and that caused me to fall off the back. Plenty of others fell off too.

I felt pretty good and clicked into the big ring as the road flattened out. Past the park ranger station and into the trees. I went to downshift and dropped my chain. I lost about 15 seconds due to this, but eventually caught back up with those next to me prior to the dropped chain within the next 3 minutes of climbing.

As the road pitched up and the fog got thicker it was difficult to know what was coming up. I knew where the finish line was and anticipated when I needed to turn it on. Kicking up the watts I crossed the line with a very respectable time of 17:27 (unofficial from my computer).

I was happy with my effort. 50+ seconds faster than last year and I was able to hold 415 watts. I won't know if I succeeded in placing in the top 10 for the 3's but just doing better than last year is reward enough. It was also nice to see a great turnout of SJBC racers and the success they had across the other categories.


Anonymous said...

Congrats....and I think you can count yourself as a climber.

Manley Man said...

I would consider myself a time trialist that likes to go uphill.

I found out this past weekend at the Sportvelo training camp that I have a harder time hanging with climbers that have punchy approach to climbing. I'm much more comfortable just climbing at my own pace...trying to follow accelerations hurt. I guess I should work on that weakness.

Dave said...

Happy New Year and congrats on producing some serious watts for 17 minutes. Damn.