Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mt Baker Hillclimb in the Rain

Back in 2003, I did the inaugural Mt Baker hillclimb in wonderful temperatures getting to set the first women's time up in 1 hr 39 min. Attempted it again in 2004 in the pouring rain. Since then, Leah Goldstein has smashed it with 1 hr 26 min.
views from Mt Baker on my pre-ride days earlier
For 2010, the rains were back. This time the organizers cut the course 3 miles short... the best and steepest part of the course! Visibility didn't really matter on the latter miles as it's a closed road. Course was now 21.5 miles and 3300' elevation gain (normally 24.5 mi, 4300').
Finally decided on what to wear. Lots... as the bike spray from the bikes ahead would keep me cool and the exertion of the climb would keep me warm on the ascent section. (Note to self... do not need a raincoat or headcover)
Smaller hardy group of racers on the startline. Off the horn, the guys went fast. I hung on best as possible to the first little climb... maybe a little Gran Fondo muscle fatigue happening from the previous day. Grasped onto the 1st chase group of guys to the 2nd little climb. Finally settled into the 2nd forming group of guys which was "comfortable". Ooh, not a good word in a hillclimb race!
Finished... chowed down an awesome spread of food, grabbed my bag waiting for me at the top. Made the wicked cold descent down though was warm with wearing everything I owned. When I finally saw the results, one young woman was ahead by only 2 minutes. When I say only 2 minutes... she was strong enough to get away with the men on the flatter 12.5 mile section which is over half the race and a good headstart. If the women all started together, it would have really showed the hillclimbers! Next time...

the ravens at the top of Mt Baker - as big as my bike!
Got wicked questions from the customs officer going into the USA at the Abbotsford/Sumas border:
Where are you going? to ride my bike up Mt Baker
What's your profession? actuary analyst
What is the life expectancy of a 60 year-old male Pygmy from New Guinea? ha! he caught me by surprise... and I even attempted to answer it. Nice that they are getting their humour back!

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