Sunday, August 09, 2009

Mt Seymour Hillclimb + 4 hours

Made a quick trip to Vancouver staying at friends' Guy and Killaine's North Vancouver home wayyy up Mtn Hwy. The lure was the Mt Seymour Challenge road race... a 12.2 km road climb up an average 9% grade. There was a light mist the whole race keeping us refreshed.
love the tall north shore trees
photo - Guy Trotter

Mass start of 20 women, the pace went out quite comfortable. Leah Goldstein soon shook up the pack. Leah gapped myself and the red/white jersey woman.

The pack... Marg standclimbing with Leah (in blue) just before making a break
photo - Guy Trotter

Another group of 4 riders were gapped behind us. I used my mental energy to stay with this powerful woman. We kept Leah in sight until the fog hid her. 2 km to go, my body cried that the pace was hard and it had been a good race up to that point. I hung in there until 1 km to go when I let red/white woman go. I needed that 30 second breather at my pace then I stormed on to the finish.
podium - marg leah powerful-red/white-jersey-woman

Afterwards, I joined Leah for more mileage. Leah is training for the Furnace Creek 508 in October (508 mile continuous road race!). We rode all the cool climbs on the North Shore... Lillouet road up to the Watershed (super scenic), Mtn Hwy to drop off my backpack, Lonsdale down Capilano back up to the mountain climb Cypress and to homebase. That was a good 5+ hour day for me, possibly 3000m elevation gain! Totally unexpected day to go on a long ride and have good company.

bear patrol volunteer duty with Killaine

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Le Tour de Bowness

Stage 1 - COP hillclimb, 1.3 km 10% grade. New record set at 4 min 0.4 seconds (with a little 60 kph wind assist!).
Thanks to an old work buddy Mike Dickinson whose son now races... for all the awesome race photos.
Stage 2 - 40 min criterium
, 7-corner 950 metre loop in Bowness. It was a little sketchy in this pack of young women. I put my bit of work in on the short hill climb each loop. One loop I even tried a double which meant attacking the climb then hauling hard the rest of the loop back up another hill. Phew!
love seeing everyone work behind me on that short hill surge!  photo - Mike Dickinson
Most of the women took their turn with an attack throughout the race. After the last corner, five women sprinted away the long stretch for the finish. I persevered, put my head down and did what I could on the flat stretch. Doh, I let up a metre before the line and another women zipped in placing me in 7th. Did I mention the pavement was super rough like a cyclocross course!

Marg counter-attacking picking up powerful Pepper Harlton on the way
 -  photo Mike Dickinson

Stage 3 - 48km Circuit Race, 5.3 km loop on a twisty rolly course with a big climb to the finish. Into the first loop, I took a jab at the hill to see how best to hit it. It was around 600 metres long starting gradual with a steep 7% pitch towards the end. The long stretch at 2% grade would be the challenge before it levelled off to the finish line.
It was fun to have teammates Heather and Chantal as well as Danika and even Pepper to work with. We did what we could against the super strong National team rider Alison Testroete. We all took turns with pulls or attacks. Still a substantial group into the last loop.
photo - Mike Dickinson
The front riders took the final tight turn fast. This left me off the back as the pack was already sprinting up the hill. Confident I would catch on before the steep grade, I caught up to the pack at my own pace. I was blocked as the pack was spread from the yellow line over to the ditch side. I hung back and watched to see when Alison would make her move to sprint. When she did, I squeaked past a rider near the yellow line and jumped on Alison's wheel. Ahh, nice ride into the finish for 2nd!

Overall points for the 3 stages put me in 2nd for the Omnium. Pretty awesome for my first cycling race of the season and for a "seasoned" rider. There were alot of youngsters in this race!!

photo with Beau the RCMP

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Flying Squirrel

Racing the hillclimb, I felt like a flying squirrel... just as I was on the start line, the threatening dark skies had approached and the winds started swirling. I am one of the few riders who attempts this climb in the big chainring 53. COP (Canada Olympic Park) 10% average grade hillclimb for 1.3 km. I was wondering when best to shift down to the small ring for the tough grade to the finish.

Right off the start, it was easier to climb than normal. The pace was fast. I was surprised as my two pre-rides up the climb were hard and I choked for air at the top due to the dryness. I sensed one gal on my wheel as it was a 3-up time trial. I passed one wind devil of sand into the wind. On each westerly turn I flew with the wind up the next stretch. 2nd last corner, Crazy Larry was cheering like a Tour de France hillclimb fan running and waving. After the last corner into the wind, I was literally blown up the hardest 12% grade to the westerly finish, even having to shift into a higher gear! I was shocked how easy the climb was.

The bigger shock was breaking the record by 7 seconds and winning in 4 min 0.4! I attributed it to the wind, yet I realize all the women had the same strong wind too. 2nd place was Nik who was on my wheel the whole way until I sprinted away at the finish. The big chain ring was key this time.

I checked the weather around my start time 7:36 p.m. Here's the graph with the peak wind at 60 kph just around 8 p.m. Wow! Fellow ERTC teammate Cody Canning also broke the men's record.

Unfortunately, this wind caused some havoc in the city with power outages including a death of a child hit by debris blown from a construction site. Crazy strong wind.