So far, not a great season.
Glendora Mountain Hill Climb
Once again, the weather is not participating. It’s supposed to be spring but no one told Mother Nature. It’s been raining all night and its cold. Lucky for me my start time isn’t until 1:32pm; hopefully it will be warmer. I don’t mind the rain, especially going uphill, but the rain AND the cold is miserable. The hill climb poses a steady pitch between 4.5 – 5.5 percent. GMR confronts racers with a dizzying number of corners, as it twists and turns up the mountainside. Historically the time trial used the full 8 miles of GMR. A road closure, however, forced the reduction to a 3.7-mile stretch of it. (See course profile below) At 162 lbs I’m not feeling too optimistic. For my talent, I need to be at least 12 pounds lighter. I just haven’t been able to lose the weight.
I had climbed it twice the day before to get a hang of the corners and the gearing so I knew what to do. I averaged 95% or my max heart rate for 18:06 which left me in 66th place out of 93 racers. Cycling is very unforgiving. Either you have it or you don’t. Nobody can help you in a time trial.
San Dimas Hospital Road Race
The race course terrain makes this course a challenge for all riders: bigger riders face the daunting climb up Cannon that has a 13-percent kicker; once over that climb, the smaller climbers must hang on as the course is flat and fast for the next couple of miles. Every rider looks to the rollers through the park to even out some of those differences in rider size and ability. To master this stage requires a solid all around riding style. Bottom line: anyone can get dropped on this tough circuit. (See the course profile below. The kicker is a mile six)
It was sunny at the start, but very breezy with a cold wind. There were King of the Mountain (KOM) points on laps 2, 4 and 6 and sprint points on laps 3, 5 and 7. This would insure the race would be hard! We were doing eight laps of this seven mile circuit for a total of 56 miles.
Lap 1 was no problem. The course had a lot of dangerous obstacles that kept you on your toes: potholes, hay bales, bulges and cracks in the road plus, we had sections where we could race the entire road but other sections where the center-line rule was in effect. You had to stay vigilant with that many racers. Lap two was another story. On the rollers I could comfortably stay close to the front, but then they drilled it up the steep climb for the KOM points. I can match the speed, but that hill was a little too long for me. I unhooked from the lead pack as we crested the top, but with a screaming downhill I was able to catch back on. Lap three was the same story. I came unhooked on the longer steep climb to have to fight my way back. This happened again on lap 4, 5 and finally, on lap six, I couldn’t make my way back to the group. The weather had changed by now. It was two hours later, the sun had gone and the cold wind had picked up considerably. I was cold and now on my own. Somewhere in the middle of lap six approximately 15 riders came up from behind. Some help….. yeah. I stayed with them but again came unglued up the steep climb. The extra body weight was just killing me. I clawed my way back for lap seven. On the descent up the second set of rollers something loud hit my bike. Another racer yelled “what the f^%$ was that?” “I don’t know I replied.” It turns out I had broken a spoke. I was using my Zipp 202 carbon wheel set which only weighs a little more than a pound. Great for a hill climb but not strong enough for this kind of a course. In a pack, there are sometimes where you just can’t see what’s coming. I had rolled over two holes for water pipes (or some kind of cap) and it had popped my spoke. It was now rattling, making a ruckus and making the other racers uneasy (I didn’t blame them). I fell back on the fast descent and took lap eight on my own. I eventually had to stop and wrap the spoke around another spoke. It came undone again right before the last screaming downhill and I was so tired I didn’t care. The spoke eventually broke off but I paid for it. My nice carbon paint job was all scratched on my both sides of the chain staysL
I didn’t make the time cut-off and tried to appeal to the lead official about my mechanical. No go….. That’s racing. I was so beat; I had to lie in my van for an hour before I left the course. I felt nauseous for the rest of the day and couldn’t sleep. At 2am I finally had to get up and took a sleeping pill or I knew I would be a zombie the next day. I need to get those wheels fixed and remember to only use them on hill climbs! I’ve been learning a lot of lessons this season.