Saturday, June 23, 2012
I committed to this event on a whim, registering minutes before Bikereg closed. Brett called me on Friday to see what I was doing this weekend and told me he signed up. I was on the fence, but if he was going, and the weather looked good, I thought why not. I did not plan on racing and wasn't in a very rested state. We have a full house with my wife's relatives over, and sleep has been very scarce this week. Nothing like a 40 minute TT effort to slap you up side the head, eh?
Field sizes were small. There were a few solid masters riders there. Mark Suprenant and Eric Carlson and I have been battling for southern New Hampshire supremacy in Strava lately. Shawn Smith recently quipped to Mark that he owned southern NH after claiming many notable KOMs, and Hill Junkie was not going to be happy about that.
Turns out Eric was staged many minutes ahead of me, so I would have no interaction with him in the TT. Mark was staged three minutes up. I figured it was slim I would ever see him either, but it did provide motivation for me to try. Brett was staged a minute and a half behind me with Eiric Marro in between us, another solid time-trialist.
The Kanc from Loon Mountain is a pretty gradual climb. The first half is <3% grade with speeds over 25mph in spots, the last couple miles around 5% grade. Total for whole 10.2mi climb is a paltry 3.5%. It is more a flat TT than a hillclimb. I joked with Eiric about not having TT gear, as there was no climb here. In fact, very few people used any aero gear. Aero bars were allowed. I used my heavier Ridley Noah, first ride on it since last year, even though it is heavier than my hillclimb bike. I can keep the more aero Rolf Vigor wheels on the Ridley now that I have Rolf Prima's for the hillclimb bike.
Warming up, my legs felt pretty poopy (when haven't they lately?). I sensed an imminent blood-bath. I had no bio or power feedback. I probably went out too hard. I sensed a little deflection a few minutes in. Not much play-by-play to report in a TT. I stayed in the big ring for the first two-thirds of the TT. I passed a lot of people, but only a couple numbers staged just ahead of me. This gave me some consternation, as I had no idea how I was doing, other than suffering immensely.
Based on Mike Barton's time from a while back in Strava, I figured the climb would take at least 40 minutes. So I was surprised to hit the finish in 36:24. Just goes to show, leaderboards in Strava are not race results. Comparing results with the other strongmen at the top, I did ok. Was fastest master, and just missed cash payout with a 4th place overall finish, as results later showed. We had ourselves a nice little paceline posse heading back down to Loon after the finish.
The course was the most well marshaled and staffed of any event I've done. Registration was a bit expensive, but proceeds go to New England Disabled Sports, and you get an army of volunteers from the benefiting cause. Very well run. I'd come back to do this again.
Brett and I didn't wait around for awards. We headed in the other direction on the Kanc and climbed Gonzo Pass for a bonus. I secretly hoped Brett would have enough upon hitting the summit, as I was cooked. Of course, I wasn't going to be the first to suggest turning around at the top. Our plan was to bomb all the way down the other side and climb the west side too. So when Brett said he might be happy with just the east side, I thought "yes!", but said "maybe, let's see how we feel at the top." Odd how a 36 minute effort can leave you so lifeless. A second ear popping descent was a nice way to cap off the day.