Breaking the hour for the 11.2 mile 3249ft climb of Mount Diablo was a 2012 goal for me. With this in mind I entered the 2012 Diablo challenge and had big plans for some serious hill training in the prior month. Unfortunately things don’t always go to plan and after some extended business travel abroad I caught a nasty chest cold that wiped out most of the month of September.
The week before the event my lungs were on the mend and I did a time trial effort up the climb to see how my form was. My lungs felt horrible but I managed to beat the hour in a time of 59m34s . I felt pretty rough after the attempt but this meant I had now achieved my goal for the year and as such there was no pressure for the challenge itself.
I did not sign up soon enough to get in the first wave of fast riders but in some ways I was in a better group with wave 2 as the quicker guys would be on sub hour pace but not crazy fast. The race started off pretty fast but I resisted the temptation to push too hard over the first 2 miles and as such was probably about 20th just slightly off the back from the lead group. I caught a rider that was setting a perfect pace and slowly we started catching people.
We were caught by another rider (Webcor) and the pace lifted and this meant that we started catching more and more people. The Webcor rider absolutely hammered it through the slightly downhill section after the pay gate and I was a little concerned that I was pushing too hard trying to keep up with him. Once things got steep the pace became slightly less insane and I managed to keep my effort in check. I crested the junction in a personal best time with two riders and we seemed to be pretty well matched. I knew that the next section to the summit was where I always suffered. On many previous attempts up Diablo this section is where I usually get dropped by faster riders. In my attempt the week before I suffered badly on this extended gradient and was a little concerned I would lose my companions. Although I got gapped a couple of times by the other two riders I was with I also went better on some sections and as such we kept together.
The final two miles up the climb were horrible and I felt like I was going to blow up at any time, but fortunately I kept with my two companions all the way up to the final ramp to the finish. The final 200m is the steepest section on the climb and is a very cruel way to end. Despite being very tired and sweating like a pig, I was very pleased to see that I did a new personal best of 55m04s and got myself a T shirt for beating the hour.
- Official Results: Link
- Position: 54th/607
[Team Mates At The Top]