Monday, October 4, 2010


I did a little hillclimb event on Sunday, the Allen Clark TT.  I first did this one last year as part of the BUMPS challenge. I didn't plan on defending my BUMPS title this year, as I had other events planned that precluded participation in a few of the hillclimb events. Turned out it really didn't matter anyway after my injury. During my recovery, I held out hope I could participate in the Ironcross race on October 10. I planned to use hillclimb events along the way as training and a safe, fun way to compete. For the most part, I'm pretty much back to 100% on the bike.

My son was home from the Navy in between assignments all last week. Mom loves to cook the best for him. We ate out a bunch too. Saturday night Aaron wanted to go to Texas Road House. Yeah, anything you get there is about 1/3 sodium by weight. Yummy though.  This is not my typical pre-race protocol. My weight was already up, and I think I picked up another three pounds of fluid gain overnight. When I got up early for Allen Clark, the scale tipped 168 lbs. I don't think I ever weighed that much the morning of a hillclimb. This was pure baggage weight. My first thought was oh man, I'm getting girled today. I knew Marti Shea and Kristen Gohr were going to be there, the top two women in the BUMPS series.

With my son home, my training schedule was pretty chaotic last week. I basically trained right through the weekend, planning to taper this week for Ironcross. Brett and I headed up together. It was in the 30's in Waitsfield. You don't normally associate long finger gloves, thermal layers and wind shells with time trials. But that's what was needed warming up.

I was staged 30 seconds ahead of Brett. Back in July, Brett was about a minute ahead of me near the summit of Mt Ascutney before his front wheel went FUBAR on him. He's been in really good form this summer. I started running all kinds of fuzzy math in my head, like I should be faster than Brett on Ascutney now, so maybe I'll put an additional 30 seconds on him, but then I'm a bit of a fatty right now and I felt like a recovery day was more in order than a hillclimb TT, so I could even be giving back the 30 second head start and get passed. John Bayley was staged behind Brett. John should be more than a minute faster than me on this climb, so I definitely expected to see him at some point.

I go off and struggle to find my legs. I kept only knee and arm warmers on. My fingers were so cold I had trouble shifting. The first 2.5mi of the climb rises at 1-3% grade. I generally cruise 20-25mph on this part. It took a while to pass a couple people. When I got to the steep 4km, I still didn't see Brett or John behind me. Good. I think. I felt awful and really had no sense of my progress.

On the steeps, I started catching a lot of people. This makes me feel good even if some of the people are a lot slower than I am. I get to the 500m to go sign, see the tower, and think to myself I can now stand and sprint this out as it levelled off. I forgot there was a second rise just before the finish. Somehow I managed to stretch that final push out for another 20 seconds or so. I could have hurled. I was pleasantly surprised to take 20 seconds off last year's time with a 26:40.95 finish. Last year I didn't exactly come here with fresh legs either, having done a 5+ hour mountain fest with Dave two days prior. So maybe that made it kind of apples to apples. PR on Greylock a few weeks ago, now again on App Gap. I'll take it.

So did I get girled? I narrowly escaped with Marti just 7 seconds behind me.  Marti schools most of the guys, so no honor lost there anyway. Looks like Charlie McCarthy established a new course record of 24:27.07. Some of the day-of registrants claimed a tailwind on the lower part of the course. They were staged last. I could have sworn I had a head wind. The day warmed up some. Brett and I did just a bit more riding afterwards, as we both had to get back on time.

I saw Roger Waters Sunday evening, a third show added at the TD Garden after the first two sold out. I'm sure Sunday's show sold out too. I can't add anything to what many others have said about this show. I ended up going solo, a last minute decision. I got a good seat, which was obscenely expensive and worth every cent. I've always wanted to see Roger Waters perform The Wall. The message this album delivers is still potent today, some 30 years later, and the massive visual presentation gave me goosebumps. No earthy substances needed. At 67, Roger still looks and sounds great.


Brian said...

forget about cycling commentary..i too saw Roger Waters last night at MSG. All i can say is: WOW!

Hill Junkie said...

When people ask how much my ticket was, they freak. But I've spent more on a 65 minute hillclimb. I'd dare say I'll remember Waters' show far longer than any of my Mt Washington hillclimbs. You come away from a show like that a bit changed.

Brian said...

Same. I also was forced to pay through the nose, but was worth every penny. I just hope my carbon bars don't break anytime soon...

karl said...

Maybe you've commented on this already, but do you think your forced "layoff" has actually been the reason behind the PR's your seeing now?

Hill Junkie said...

Karl - others have speculated this too. But one must look at the big picture here. Both Greylock and App Gap have never been "A" events for me. I last did Greylock many years ago. I've gained considerable fitness since then. I first did App Gap last year, two days after doing a punishing dirt road mountain fest on 'cross bikes. My legs were wrecked. One can't read too much into these results. I know from recent lunch time training rides that my five minute power is still below where it was this spring. I suspect if I were to do Ascutney or Washington right now, I'd find I'm still a few percent from PR territory. These climbs are usually priority events for me and are best measures of my fitness.

Certainly, a reprive has been good for the body. I've been pouring on the hours since July and feel no sense of it being too much. My times on the recent climbs were not slow by any means, as I placed favorably with guys that I'm typically really close to, like Casie, Bayley and Johnson. This tells me that all this will be behind me going into next season.