Sunday, July 26, 2009

George Street Hill Climb

The Ride: I tore it up pretty well, even with some slick spots. 43.28 seconds. I was surprised I was that quick. I had no clue until I saw my time after the event was over. Age group winners (50-59) were close to 30 seconds. Ouch! I was (a) trying to go straight up, (b) use a gear I knew I could push all the way, and (c) be conscious of the wet spots higher on the hill that hadn't had a chance to dry out. I'm VERY happy with this time. I learned enough to work on dropping it next year. Next year, I plan to use a bigger gear. I'll be ready. You can see all of the results here.

The Deal: I arrived at 8am. It was drizzling a bit. I met the co-organizer, Lynne Tolman, and she told me more about how the day would run. She rides it each year, too. I registered so early in the year that I was #5. When I was done, I put my bike back on the car, changed into sandals and rooted others on from the base (where I could watch my bike, too!)

The Preview: Riding around town before the race, I ran into my friend Gina, her boyfriend Giuseppe and his son Mario. They were driving to watch the morning's festivities. It turns out Giuseppe is a member of the sponsoring club (Seven Hills Wheelmen) and a regular on their Wednesday night rides. I hadn't seen Gina in a year. They positioned themselves half way up George Street after we chatted at the base. Before I rode, Giuseppe came down to warn me about the wetness on the right side on the top 1/3 section. Nice guy! I had planned to go up the right side the whole this helped. (He also got a great shot of me coming head-on that Gina will send me. Blog material!)

The Start: Someone holds you under the saddle at the base of the hill. There's 2-inch red tape delimiting the start line. You tell them when you're ready. They announce your name, home town and how many times you've done this race. They count down from 3 and the air horn means PEDAL! I took off pretty well and made very good time. I did move left to avoid the slick spots (several people fell later...) and that was also when I hit the steepest pitch. I slipped my chain a few times at that point (penalty for not using a bigger gear) but made it to the top 100% breathless. I couldn't have done more. I was hung over my handlebars as I cruised to the right to find a street to return to my car across from the start line. Gina told me that finishing times were announced at the top, but I have no recollection of hearing anything past the point when Gina, Giuseppe and Mario rooted me on.

The End: I rode pretty much straight up from the saddle and didn't rock a lot. MISTAKE. That's better for lonnnnnng climbs. The quickest times were done by people using their upper bodies, too. Lesson for next year. I'll work on that and get out there a few times before next July, too. I wanted to complete the ride and not wipe out near the top (as several did.) I also saw a rider break his chain when he started, get a new chain, and then win the gold for his age group!

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