LKHC#4 Highway 9 from Boulder Creek – Hill Climb TT

I haven’t ridden a low key hill climb on a regular bike for many years but I was inspired to try out the Highway 9 Boulder Creek Climb as it was a time trial rather than mass start (In case you haven’t realized, I like time trials).  Looking at the profile of the climb it was 6 miles of rolling road followed by the big climb itself so it was debatable if a TT bike would be the better choice.  I decided to opt for my regular road bike as I don’t feel very efficient climbing on the Trek TTX TT bike. I have pretty much finished racing for the year and my body is in off season mode so I this race was for fun.

The weather for the event was absolutely perfect and the organizers very friendly so I was in a really good frame of mind for this race. I had never ridden the climb so my plan was to race the bottom section as if it was a 25 mile TT then just concentrate on keeping my pulse at 170 for the climb itself.  For a 25 mile TT I would normally race around 174bpm average but I wanted to make sure I had something in reserve if the climb got a bit hard.

The first 6 miles of the climb were rolling as promised with not much in the way of climbing. I felt I had a pretty good pace going along here and my pulse was exactly where I wanted it to be. Once I got on the climb proper I just concentrated on keeping my pulse above 170 and pedalling as smoothly as I could.  I hit the first checkpoint at mile 7.3 (only 700ft of climbing) in 23rd Place with a time of 25m20s.  I am not sure how much of an impact the first mile of climbing had on my time but I was rather dissapointed that I wasnt quicker on the rolling stuff.

The rest of the climb was a mixture of extended long constant grades with the odd flatter big ring section thrown in for good measure. I tried my best to be as aero as possible on the faster bits, without hammering too hard, so that I had some spare capacity for the steeper bits. With about 2 miles to go I was passed by a rider, that seemed to be doing the whole climb standing up, but I didnt raise my pace. I kept him in sight for the next mile but in the back of my mind I was keeping something in reserve for the last mile when quite by surprise I came across the 200 paces to go sign and suddenly had to try to empty the tanks in a last minute short sprint. My time for last 6 miles and 1360ft of climbing was 28m25s (27th place) so I was definitely a bit slower on the main climbing part. My overall time was 53m45s which gave me 24th place overall.

I reckon I could have judged my pacing better on the climb but the most important thing was that I really enjoyed myself. I was hooked on the Low Key Hill Climb Series again and cannot say enough good things about the organizers and friendly people.


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