Monday, August 9, 2010

Mt. Equinox Hill Climb Race Report

I was looking forward to this race for a while--not sure why as I knew nothing about the climb.
It was a really long, but good day. We were up at 3:25 am to make it up to Manchester VT early enough to get a warm up in. My wonderful mom was kind enough to come over and watch the kids, so yes Cora and I had a hall pass and it was most welcomed time alone. We made good time up to VT. The only downer was that we were too early for a Starbucks stop as none were open yet.

I took my time signing in and started to warm up on the trainer, but then we realized that Cora had to leave to go up the hill at 7:40am. I hopped off the trainer and rode up and down Hwy 7A instead, which was fine. My wave was off at 8:10 am with perfect climbing weather, clear and crisp, with temps I'm guessing in the 60's.

Both the above images are borrowed from
If you are at all interested in hill climbing, I highly suggest you check out this site.

I emptied the tank with a couple hundred meters to go.

I liked the hill a lot. The start allows you a couple of minutes before the grade kicks up which was perfect to get into a rhythm. I think the thing that made the climb so nice (at least for me) was that it seems to have very well-spaced out areas of rest, including a small downhill. The "rest" for me was enough to recover a bit without destroying my rhythm. I found the corners to be steep but they actually were enjoyable as you can enter them outside and cut across and it felt like you could actually gain a little speed. The hill is rumored to have a very short steep section in the 28% grade neighborhood. I never felt like I was riding anything that steep. I suspect that number was measured on the inside of one of the turns, if at all.

As what seems to be the norm at these things, I found myself off the back right at the start. Of course I started wondering if people were going out too hard or was I riding like a child. I was especially preoccupied with this, as I opted to leave the PowerTap at home. I wanted to ride the bike as lean as possible with the same set up as planned for Mt. Washington. I concentrated on riding my own race and slowly started passing the folks in front of me. I was feeling better and better as the climb went on. I finished in 46:25, which was about 3 mins faster than expected, so needless to say I was very happy.

The race itself was great--really well-organized. They had people handing out water halfway up, which made for a nice shower. At the top, they not only had ample goodies for recovery, but they managed to woo my wife--Cora was ecstatic that they also had doughnuts for the spectators. They announced each finisher by first name, which I thought was a class act. At the bottom, after the race, they had a really nice barbecue. My only ding against them would be that they served up arguably the worst hamburger I've ever had, but in all fairness, I have to say they recovered completely by having a very well-stocked ice cream cart. Doughnuts and ice cream--I think it's fair to say that Cora will be back next year, as will I.

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