Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sunshine Hillclimb 45+

Race Report and Results - Sunshine Hill climb, Boulder, CO - Vic's Espresso
Team members: Brian Todeschini; Burt Henry

Author: Burt Henry

Drying roads and cool temps greeted us at the start line today. This was my first attempt at this race. I've always found convenient excuses to skip it.

We started out steady through the initial 2 miles, unlike Lookout 2 weeks ago. Brian and I sat in about 10th position as a few riders steadily fell off the pace.

At the first big left turn we had about 18 riders left. The pace seemed to increase a bit here and I started suffering a bit. Brian stayed solidly in the top 5 while I dangled around 10th. Still no attacks.

Later we then hit the next big left turn, where it gets super steep, with about 12 riders left. I was happy to still be there. 5 of the riders were Mix-1 (I recognized Jimi Gibson and Bill Stalhuth). I also recognized Tim Godby, Wayne Watson, Peter Ismert, and Rip Mobius. I'm trying to learn the riders in my new category.

Things started fragmenting on the 12% grade with Jimi on the front. Brian was still in the top 5 while I fell off the back. Rip blew up, and when we got near the top I hit it as hard as I could up and over. I passed Tim, Peter, and a mix-1 rider. They jumped on my wheel and I led us on the downhill and back up the not so steep uphill part. We were able to tag back on to the group containing Brian and 3 others. From want I could tell, this group was 4th on the road as I could see 3 other rides scattered ahead. Jimi was one of those riders up ahead.

Back uphill steeper again, and I was dropped again. A Colorado Law rider dropped off behind me. Near the top before the long downhill I drilled it up and over again. The group ahead was about 12 seconds up, but I got back on towing a mix-1 rider. At this point we were 4th-10th on the road. Brian, Wayne, Tim, Peter, and a couple of mix-1 riders were there.

Heading back uphill on the last paved section before the dirt I got dropped again. Brian meanwhile surged ahead. Hitting the dirt I was in 9th position and Brian was surging and was either 3rd or 4th. At some point he did get that 3rd spot. Jimi led about 15 seconds ahead of Brian and about 30 seconds ahead of me at this point.

This is where the suckage took over. I felt like I was riding in the sand of Moab as I struggled to keep going. I was having breathing problems and felt like I was choking. One then 2 then 3 then 4 riders passed me. Mara Abbott passed me going much faster than I was. When we got to 2k to go I started feeling better (of course, it got much less steep). I made out a rider 15 seconds ahead and slowly started bringing him back.

At 300 meters I began my sprint about 5 seconds behind the rider. He looked back and tried to answer but I passed him going much faster. Surprisingly I had plenty of snap left.

I saw Brian immediately after I finished and he said he did move up a spot to 3rd. He could see Jimi and the second place rider all the way up the dirt but couldn't quite close it. He was about 10 seconds out of second and 20 out of first at the finish.

On the descent I realized why I felt so bad on the dirt. It was much steeper than I thought! I always struggle to get my big body up steep inclines and this was no exception.

I had finished 12th and was pleased with my effort. Nice job Brian!

Footnote: The accuracy of this report might be skewed by severe hypoxia encountered by the author and the absence of official results post race.

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