LKHC#5: Highway 84 -West Alpine Hill Climb TT

West Alpine was another new climb for me and therefore a complete mystery on how to pace myself.  It was individual TT format and therefore suited me. The course profile showed a rolling uphill gradient for the first 10 miles then a pretty steep 5 mile slog to the finish.  My plan was to ride the first 10 miles at about 90% TT pace then just keep that pace going for the last 5 miles.

I set off pretty well and it felt like there was a tailwind so my average speed was higher than expected. I caught one rider after a few miles but seemed to take an eternity to catch the next. I caught a second rider just as we came into the redwood trees and proceeded to blow past both him and the right turn up to highland. Fortunately he shouted and I realized my  mistake and as such didn’t lose too much time but it really hurt my rhythm and it took me a mile or so to get back on pace.

Between Mile 8-10 the road became a spectacular narrow, bumpy and twisting ribbon of asphalt through redwood groves.  It was quite cool through this section and the constantly changing direction and elevation made it quite a challenge to pace. I didn’t see another body until the climb proper started at mile 10 and then there was a traffic jam of riders. I didn’t feel too bad on the climb and kept my pulse around 170 which was a pace I knew I could sustain.

Near the top of the climb the road flattened out a bit and I used this as a bit of a respite so that I would have power for what I believed would be the steep mile to the finish.  My pulse was still around 170 but the gradient was such that it was big ring stuff and a welcome change from slog.  As I hit the next steep section I caught two riders and to my surprise saw the 200 paces to go sign. I did my best to sprint the last 200 but for the second week in a row I had misjudged the finish.

This was another very enjoyable low key event with great weather and I was pleased with my time. Looking at the split times I was definitely faster on the flatter section (even with a wrong turn) but dropped 3 places on the steeper part of the climb.

Highway 84 to West Alpine  

Results:

Times:

Split 1: Start to bottom of Alpine (8.48 miles; 510 feet of climbing) :24m04s (19th)
Split 2: West Alpine Road from bottom (6.4 miles; 1890 feet of climbing) : 25m01s (23rd)
Overall : 59m05s

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