35+ 4/5 22/~45
Teammates:none ( did see Filip V, JVM, Mark D, Gene R, Steve M, Lisa, Daniel T and others in different fields)
Friendly rivals: Mark S from Pen Velo, Tom F from the topica wattage list, (initially forgot)X, John C and Bob R from EMC.
A little adventure to get to the start on the backside of Mt Hamilton, when doing it by a bike the road seems pretty wide but in the car I find myself hitting the botts dots all the time because it's only slightly wider than my car and this seems preferable to finding the edge of a 1000 foot drop. In the first competition of the day I am the second rider to arrive at the start at about 6:50 AM. I may have to leave later than 5:30 from home next time I do this, but by the time we start, the shoulders are filled with the cars of riders and some have to park pretty far away, so being a little early pays off. The odor of burning brakes fills the air at the start for most of the cars that descended the east side of Mt Hamilton.
We get two numbers, one for the officials, and one so CHP can identify folks who flaunt the law.
Put on two layers on top and arm warmers, knee warmers and a cap for some spinning around the start area and find my teeth chattering uncontrollably on the descents and almost comfortable on the climbs. Dumped the knee warmers for the start.
The starter warned us of a tricky left turn on the descent after the first climb and asked us to be neutral until after this. This did not work at all as a few people went off the front immediately on the first climb. Mark said his one teammate wanted to see how long he could stay away.
Mark's teammate ends up winning the race with the guy in second earning approximately his 40th upgrade point...
The first climb was like a short VO2max interval but not that hard ( I guess that was the neutral part) so I was able to maintain position near the front. The descent passed without incident although after the next climb I could hear someone applying their brakes hard behind me and getting closer and closer and prepared myself for some sort of collision but then I heard a clanging of bike on ground. Tom F was behind this fellow and said the poor guy's tire blew out. After this I was able to hang onto the group without incident to the feedzone. I think we only had fifteen racers left by then. Tom F thinks there was a breakaway off the front but I am pretty sure we caught him ( Mark's teammate) by the base of the climb. We roll through the feed zone before they are ready, but no matter, I brought one bottle and only drank half of it by the finish. There are two small bumps after the feedzone then the first long climb on the backside. I got dropped after the two bumps.
Not sure why I got dropped here. The NP for the race up to this point was only 240, perhaps it was mental, but then again we dropped about 30 guys by this point. I have a higher output than this for a longer period of time when doing long intervals so it's puzzling. Anyways, tried to do FTP up the hill, managed 244 for 11 minutes. This brought a few guys into view. Then a short descent followed. The next climb took six minutes at 244 again, I was gaining on a couple of folks, got within 50 meters but held back a bit, thinking I had them but after we started descending again I never saw them again till the end of the race some 18 miles later. I should have committed to catching them or blowing - at this point the course is mostly downhill or rolling. By the time I got to the finish, no one from my group caught me and I never caught anyone from my group either - the same result as the unofficial Steve Stewart Mt Hamilton challenge after that climb...
A bunch of cat 5's caught me on the descent ( mostly big guys ) but I could not work with them so I had to let them all go ahead.
Rode back to the start with Tom F and learned he's a surgeon so the main time he has available to train is spent indoors on the trainer. I was really impressed with his fitness (he lasted about four minutes with the group in the climb) given the limitation. Riding the trainer that much would drive me insane. He moved from Oregon where conditions are worse for free agent doctors and he had a choice of the Kaiser in Oakland or Modesto, he visited both and picked Modesto.
And he kicked my butt on the ride back, too! The last hill before the Isabel start takes about ten minutes going back, and only three or four coming out, I kept thinking we were done and getting my hopes crushed by yet another switchback.
M: 68 kg
TSS 295 - so the warmup + ride back was almost as much work as the race itself for me.
The weekly TSS is fairly high for me before this event even with the two days prior being light. Should taper more for better results but I enjoy just riding even more! The other thing I could do off the top of my head is increase the amount of time in intervals at FTP in one workout. The most I ordinarily would do is about 45 minutes so if I upped it to about an hour that would be at least similar to what this race required.