Monday, November 28, 2011

Low Key Hill Climb Series 2011

On Thursday, The Turkey Day, the 2011 nine weeks long uphill race series called "Low Key Hill Climbs" culminated with the last and longest uphill battle to reach the summit of Mt. Hamilton. The races took place every Saturday morning at various roads around the Bay Area. The races had several things in common: volunteers who did a great job in herding all the nervous roadies at the start and finish lines, the racers themselves (the usual Bay Area roadie crowd, whatever that means), beautiful local small roads, all pointing quite sharply upwards, and a rain free weather. One thing that none of the races featured, despite the name, was anything low key. Sure, there were no large number plates, no podiums, no prizes and no speeches, but these were fiercely competitive events, with the top guys and ladies achieving quite unbelievable times and ascend rates. Overall results are posted to a great detail here.

As for my "goals" for these races, I thought these may be a good opportunity to keep my legs in shape during the fall season, when days get shorter and weather may make it harder to get out and ride. Secretly, I also thought it would be nice to be able to do all nine weeks. There were also several locations I have never ridden before (Sierra Road, Palomares, Mix Canyon, and yes- Bohlman etc. Rd).

To make the nine weeks-long story short, I managed to participate in all nine events, thus earning a membership in the exclusive 100% club. It was not easy, I suffered on several climbs mightily and was reminded on weekly basis of how many super fit people live in this area. My face burned on the sun exposed section of Page Mill Road in a 75F weather, I froze my ass off on the way down Highway 9 after the climb, bonked twice on Bohlman and Mix Canyon, and got soaked wet and punctured on the way down from Mt. Hamilton. I also got to meet my friend Martin whom I raced with at the BCBR, and his family, in Vacaville.

So, by mere participation, I earned slot # 71 out of total 326 riders who scored, and finished second at the Endurance Award, which I interpret as someone who has accumulated the longest time (my overall time was 38 minutes shorter than the winner's)! Here is a summary table with some numbers:

Hill Montebello Sierra Rd Page Mill Bohlman-
On Orbit
Palomares Mix Canyon Highway 9 Kings Mountain Mt. Hamilton Overall
1940 1759 2221 2010 1062 2257 2128 1540 4399 19316
distance 5.3 3.66 8.62 4.44 4.56 4.91 6.67 4.32 18.4 60.88
grade 6.95% 9.14% 4.89% 8.61% 4.42% 8.74% 6.05% 6.77% 4.53%
points 89.71 83.63 91.02 83.5 85.76 79.56 80.71 84.2 87.65 438.33
time 39:56:00 35:05:00 47:52:00 41:04:00 24:03:00 45:54:00 46:40:00 30:51:00 103:21:00 414:46:00
mph 7.96 6.26 10.81 6.49 11.38 6.42 8.58 8.4 10.68
fph 2915 3008 2784 2937 2649 2950 2736 2995 2554

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