Sunday, August 16, 2009

OBRA Hillclimb Championships, by Greg

Naiqwan and I headed up to the mountain for our first taste of the OBRA Hillclimb Championship race. Naiqwan, Junior 12-14 superstar was to race at 10:20 am, with my Masters 40-44 start time at 12:12. The race was to be run in standard time trial format, with 1 minute between starts.

John and Jake met us at the lower parking lot to assist in dialing in Naiqwan's bike and warm-ups. Naiqwan took off on the climb, and I continued my warm-up with some helpful threshold/recovery coaching by John. I started the climb a bit too hot and had to dial back a couple of BPM at mile 2 where I started to blow a little bit. I then just set my pace and maintained my HR of 179-181.

To keep my mind off of the agony my legs were feeling I sang happy songs, tried to looked at the pretty sights, and listened to the swish of my tires on pavement. The road (West Leg) road is really cool and I'll bet is very scenic (hard to tell when you're seeing double and gasping for breath). At mile 4 or so, the road turned down for a brief bit, allowing a little big ring action. Then a left hander took me onto the main Timberline Road.

I thought "this is it, big finishing kick up the last climb", then I actually looked up the road and saw the steepest pitch of the day mocking me. I grinded, suffering up this final pitch, crossing the finish in 36'42". I had guessed/hoped that I would finish in under 35'.

Jake rocked the Cat 3's, finishing just over 27' for either 2nd or 3rd place. Naiqwan took 5th in his field. Randy suffered in the 3's to finish back in the field, and I posted I think my first ever DFL.

I learned a lot though, and like John said, "this race will make you better". Climbing, especially at altitude like today (one racer commented that it was like trying to breath through a straw), forces me out of my comfort zone. I know that to be a faster/better racer I need to work on climbing. I may not see the results of today right away, but I now have at least one clear goal for next year, and that is to beat 33' in this race. That in itself will make me better as I have a specific target to work toward while climbing training.

Sorry I have no pictures, hopefully JB will add some. Tough race on a beautiful day. Congrats to Jake for picking up one more state champ medal.


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