Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mt. Greylock Hillclimb Race Report

I was at the end of a "rest" week, which is typically a good thing as far as racing goes but I had my reservations for several reason. First, I have not done any intensity since the week prior to Mt. Washington, as I am back to base building to ramp up for Iceman. Secondly, although I'm supposed to adhere to a strict diet of base miles, I binged on Friday by going a touch too hard with my Paceline teammates Nate and Steve, so I was not so sure how my legs were going to feel Saturday morning.

With that said, I was very much looking forward to climbing Mt Greylock. I tallied it up as a "B" race, which is always nice as my body knows that means I can sleep the night before which I did. We got an early start without the kids for the two-ish hour drive over to North Adams. As we made our way out of the fog, it was absolutely beautiful out--cool and crisp in the low 50's with 3 hours to get a bit warmer by race time--perfect climbing weather.

I had considered taking the Serotta with the 34x27 but opted for the Parlee and its forgiving 34x36--largely a decision made by Nate and Steve on Friday--good choice! After completing the now compulsory pre-race de-bulking process, I managed to get in about twenty minutes on the trainer--I was sweating like I was sick and starting to dread what was to come, as my legs were really feeling dead. I was hoping this was a case of a little more warm-up and they would come around. I was actually feeling warm (not sure if I felt like ass or it was the temperature) so I changed out of the skinsuit which always runs a bit on the warm side.

I was told I had the last start time--not sure if that would be a good or bad thing. It dawned on me that I really had no idea what this climb was like other than it was 9.2 miles instead of the published 8.9 which was no big deal and that Chris, who rode most of it on his fixed gear said all the steep stuff was at the beginning and it was not too bad.

The riders went off every 30 sec, so I figured I would try to pass as many people as I could without getting passed (which should not be to hard given I was supposed to be the last to start) and finish under 50 minutes which seemed realistic.

So at 10:21:30 I was off and sure enough the steep stuff came quickly--about 100 yards or so the course turned left up Furnace Street and up it went for about a mile or so--mapmyride had it in the 10-11% range but I remember seeing signs on the way down saying it was 17%--either way it hurt and I was seriously questioning how the day was going to go. Thankfully it eased up--maybe 2-4% with some rollers after the first mile and I really had to resist the temptation to ease up as I was now in and out of the big ring. I could not figure out what was going on, my legs felt smoked but my HR was right where I wanted it. I seemed to be going pretty fast--I had already passed 3-4 people. As I started to think it was going to be easy then of course the questions started--was I going out too hard? Nah! Was I rationalizing to justify backing off a bit? Most likely. Could it really be this "flat" all the way up? No way. Who is this guy who just passed me? I thought I was last to start?

Then as I passed the two mile mark, the grade kicked up again, I'm guessing it averaged a good 10% which lasted for the next three and a half miles. I managed to get into a rhythm which was helping my cause, but I could not get back on the wheel of the guy who passed me and
I felt like I was going backwards as he rode away from me. By mile 6 the grade mellowed again and fortunately I was feeling a lot better and much of the last 3 miles were spent in the big ring.

At the top, I flew past the finish line without even seeing it. I must have looked like a complete fool as I was full gas fifty feet past the finish line, screaming at a car that was running me off the road. I heard someone say "you're done" with the inflection that I was riding the short bus rather than a bike. I looked down at the Garmin to see 48:39 less the 9 seconds of over-shooting the finish I finished with a very satisfying 48:30.

I'm not sure how good that is or where I placed as we did not stick around for the results. Given the lack of intensity in my training and the suspect legs I had, it does not really matter, I was very happy with the result.

This looks like any one of the last four hillclimbs I have done--perfect with not a cloud in the sky. I'm definitely going back--great climb with spectacular views--I'd love to ride it as part of a longer ride. I'll see what I can put together for sometime this fall.

No comments: