Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Dark Side

With my 20 year anniversary of mountain bike racing growing closer on the horizon, there are still a few things with racing I have missed out on and would like to try. One of them has been to compete in the High Point Hill Climb road Time Trial. It seems that for the past decade this race has conflicted with the H2H schedule and I had automatically made it a non-priority. This year the date was a week earlier, so I jumped on the idea of trying this TT. I have never road raced before nor road time trialed, so this would be a complete new experience.

I asked a few TT experts about course previewing and they told me to get out to High Point and check out the course by car and bike, so that is what I did. I drove it first and then parked in the park on top to ride down and preview the climb. It was really cold and windy that day, and as I pulled stuff out of trunk, my wheel nearly blew off to Kansas, so I had to put it back in my car, while I dressed. Then I noticed that it was spitting snow. I found this quite amusing that on the day I plan to ride the road in late spring, it snows, when we had summer like weather all March. One thing I do know well, is that I can not change the weather, so I better just deal with it if I plan to be on my bike.

Dressed in full metal jacket, I descended in the crazy wind, and sure enough the snow was done and now the sun was out to cook me on the way back up. I ended up stripping down some but was over dressed for sure. The bottom of the climb was wide, open and boring. By the time I was a 1/3 the way up, I had already talked myself out of racing. I thought at that rate, it could take me 40 minutes, and I was really hoping for under 30 minutes. From that point on I backed off to relaxed pace to get back to the car. The road began to turn more up top and I actually enjoyed the ride up at pleasure pace. Once in the park, there were beautiful rock formations and one section of road that was completely lined with red columbine. I am so glad I slowed down to see these things, as I would have never seen them in race mode. As I reached the monument, my clock read 34 minutes and a women I ran into at the top reported her time as 39 minutes.

After some thought, I decided to register, and I'm glad I did, as I met my goal of under 30 minutes with a time of 28:12 on race day, passing a few ladies along the way. Was it fun? Not really, more like the pain cave with a mountain instead of a cave, but I am glad to have given it a try. I also went into this with no knowledge of road TT'ing, and I think I learned some, probably a lot more to learn as well. My day was more about pushing myself and just checking out racing on the dark side. Outside of the race, it was still a beautiful day in the mountains, which is a good day to me.

columbine in bloom

30 seconds before the pain cave, and notice it is uphill at the start.

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