• Race Report: Winter Park Hill Climb

    My race went as expected for a training race. As mentioned in my pre-race post below, the goal was the 40 minute mark....and I hit that.....pretty much right on the nose.

    I arrived to the venue around 8:30 AM. I grabbed my number plate and saddle up on the Rotwild hardtail for a granny gear spin up the 5+ mile course to get an idea for how the course read. The road was 100% dry dirt/gravel and rock. Tire pressure played a role, as too much pressure would not allow for you to stand at all on the climb due to some loose dirt. Me, I ran 20 PSI up front and 23 PSI in the back. Traction was not an issue at this pressure with the Speed Kings. The climb for the most part was consistent in its gradient. There were a few steeper pitches and flat sections...but nothing really to make or break anyone's race. That is, unless they went out to hard.....blowing up and blowing chunks all over the side of the road. There was a good solid group of riders in the Pro/Semi-Pro race.....40 racers to be exact. Interesting thing to note is most were on mountain bikes, but there was also numerous guys on cx bikes, and even a Slipstream-Chipotle rider on a full on road bike.

    At 10 AM the gun went off and we did our thing up the side of the mountain. The group for the most part stayed together for the first 300 yards, and then guys got into there respective rhythms. Some dropped back....some surged ahead. For me, I knew what I needed to do to keep the same speed from start to finish. Set the HR at 170 and don't mash the pedals. I did this perfectly today, as I average 171 bpm for the climb. After I set into my pace, some guys dropped off my pace, while others attacked and surged ahead. I let them go, as we still had 3-4 miles to climb. Sure enough, up the road I caught some of these riders. So, other riders and myself pretty much settled into the final placing that we would cross the finish line in. One guy and myself keep yo-yoing off of each other. With 1 mile to go, I surged ahead....I got a gap...only to have him back on my wheel. Then he surged.....and I got on his wheel. With one final switchback and a steep pitch, I took off again. I got a gap, but lost a steady power to the pedals on the steep pitch at the line. He came around me and pulled away. I crossed the line shortly there after in 33rd place. Final results are here.

    Racing and riding in Winter Park
    After, the race I descended back down to the car....refueled....grabbed the freshly built FS Rotwild and headed out for another 2 hours of zone 2 and 3 HR training. The plan was to ride as far up Rollins Pass Rd as I could. This climb is Forest Service road that starts out with a gentle grade of gravel. I knew that sooner than later snow would become an issue.

    Racing and riding in Winter Park
    The higher I went the sloppier the roads got. Not too bad in this photo...but they got worse. Going up was not an issue, but coming back down I was sprayed down with road sludge. My face, teeth, helmet, legs, and glasses where covered in a nice shade of brown.

    Racing and riding in Winter ParkI got up to about 10,200 feet before the snow over took the entire road. I tried to ride a bit further, but the soft melting snow would not allow the tires to sit up high. So, I turned around an headed back to the hill climb course for a 3 time up. As mentioned above....the ride down was a muddy mess.

    Racing and riding in Winter Park
    Yeah, more sustained climbing! My dirty mug climbing back up the Hill Climb race course. This road is in good shape, cause they plowed a few weeks back.

    Here is my attempt at commentary while climbing the race course the 3rd time. I am laughing at watching this with all the dirt splattered all over my face and teeth. Gross.

    Racing and riding in Winter ParkLooking down on the Winter Park/Fraser Valley from about 1/2 way up the course. More photos posted here from the post-race training.

    As for Sunday, I didn't forget...
    Racing and riding in Winter Park