Monday, November 03, 2014

Mike Nosco Memorial Ride 2014

Took in my 2nd Mike Nosco Memorial ride. Wanted to get the Hammer Award (fastest time up a designated climb) as I gave the Hammer Award from last year to my couchsurf family. 

This year’s timed climb was 2/3rds of the way into the 80-mile course, Latigo, one of my favourite climbs for a beautiful canyon and average 7-8% grade.
Neutral descent down Los Posas road went ok, with a break of silence at the bottom to respect Mike Nosco's life
 - photo Facebook Mike Nosco ride

Then… the peloton dashed off in a flurry on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). Way too fast! I hung in due to the odd hill. A headwind finally slowed the leaders. Noticeably in the lead group were 4 of us women.

Up the notoriously steep Deer Creek climb, I chilled at a comfortable yet hard pace to conserve energy. I slowly passed a few riders.  Coming up on a strong woman rider, I recognized those legs again and said hi to Sue Sutton.
Tyler working the big gears! - photo
When I reached the peak of Deer Creek the field was spread out. I was solo on the next few rollers. Lead the descent down fast twisty Yerba. At PCH, I was with 2 other riders. Fortunately, one was a strong flatlander, Tyler Locke. He hauled towards the peloton visible ahead a couple hundred metres. Myself and the other rider helped on the gentle climbs.
tough climb up 15% Deer Creek -
Glad we caught up to the peloton by the beginning of the climb up Mulholland. Pace went nicely super casual. I noticed a guy take his cellphone out to take a photo of the peloton from the rear. Up in the peloton was a guy with the Mellow Johnny’s jersey though I brushed it off as I did not think he looked like the rumoured Lance Armstrong that was to be here as the Specialized helmet threw me off and his current physique.
Ha, Marg riding behind Lance! - photo Tyler Locke
At the peak, everyone stopped at the feedzone. I quickly filled up water and grabbed a slice of watermelon. Blazed the descent with a couple new riders forming a peloton of 6 riders along PCH.

Reaching the turnoff for Latigo, my peloton zoomed past the feed-zone to start the climb. I stopped to grab an orange and take a pee break. Another huge peloton went flying by.

Starting the Latigo climb alone, I went a hard pace looking for the painted KOM line. I had a race pace going already when I hit it and continued on to catch the peloton ahead. They were loping at a casual pace as I slowly passed the peloton on the left.

Only one guy came with me, and it was Tyler who was doing this event his first time. Tyler and I worked together for a couple km until all of a sudden he drifted back. I continued on at a good pace focusing on catching each rider ahead. Passed Steve Tilford riding casually with another rider and chatting. They started cheering “Ham-mer ham-mer” as I went by! I eventually passed the guys in my original peloton individually.

Riding westward there was a headwind so I chilled the pace treating it like the wind adding another 2% to the grading. Riding eastward, and in the sheltered canyon spots I picked up the pace. Happy to see the painted KOM line at the top and stopped at the feedzone 100m later with my head hanging. Felt like a decent effort!

When Tyler showed up,  I asked how it went. He said we both rode by Lance. "What?". Tyler points to Lance getting a coke at the feedzone. Tyler took a photo. What the heck!photo Tyler Locke

Rode the rest of the way with a good sized peloton with Lance in it. It was interesting listening in on conversations with him… stuff like "how are the kids" and tri training. Just another cyclist now. I had boycotted watching the TdF years ago post-Lemond days. 

A few of the guys in the peloton commended me on my climb. One said it was interesting to see my climbing technique throughout. I thanked him though did not know what he meant by "throughout".

Marg sharing a "Hammer Award" beer with Tyler

Post-event, I chatted with Tyler who then told me that when he dropped off my pace, he floated back to the peloton. He ended up next to Lance who said to Tyler “Are you going to just let her go?”! Funny!

The peloton then picked up their pace. Tyler thought they were going the same pace as me though were too far back to bridge up. I had looked back one time though did not see any riders. Bonus for them to have a peloton in the wind. Mine was a good individual time trial effort!

Tyler took opportunity to get a selfie while on a 10% grade. Probably a record day of selfies and Facebook photos with Lance

Chatting with Rich Roll, vegan athlete
Post-event, it was fun to hang out and chat with the riders. The catered food at this event is one of the nicest spreads for a cooked meal I've seen at a race.

I handed in my GPS for the Strava reading for the Nosco Hammer. I managed to have the fastest women’s time, just under a minute of another strong woman, and 4th overall of the guys who handed in their GPS. 
Strava name is Little Hobo

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