LKHC#8: Mount Hamilton Mass start Hill Climb

Mount Hamilton is the grand finale of the low key hill climb series and is always held on thanksgiving morning so that the participants can work up a good appetite for the Turkey onslaught to follow.  Hamilton is a challenging climb in that it exceeds 4300ft, it is 18.4 miles long and that it has 2 down hills. I always find that the down hills spoil my rhythm and make the following climb just that bit harder.  Conventional wisdom is that you should not go too deep on the first two climbs so that you have something left for the final 7 mile slog to the summit.

My plan for this year was to try to hang onto the leaders as long as possible and worry about the last 7 miles when I hit them.  I was hoping that the short descents would be enough for me to recover.

The race started off at a brisk pace and it wasn’t long before things started to split up. I had to jump across gaps a couple of times and I was working harder than I would have liked but was with the lead group. As we neared the top of the first climb on the bumpy and twisty section through the trees I started to get into difficulty and just dropped off the back off the lead group of 10-15 riders. I thought my day was done but I didn’t panic and chased hard on the descent and managed to get back on  the group.

The second climbing section started off fairly brisk and I was hanging on the back OK but there were several successive attacks and on the third attack myself and three other riders got popped off the back. One of the riders(Iron Data Thirsty Bear) put in a really good chase and it was quite  a while before I felt able to come round to help him. The Iron Data guy was really strong and he put in the majority of the chase work so that we kept catching people but not the leaders.

On the final descent before the summit climb we were still 3 riders but there was no sign of the leaders. We hit the 7 miles to go sign together and I didn’t feel too bad so I managed to work more than I had done on the last climb. The iron data guy was still the strongest in our group and our third member was just sat in.  With about 4 miles to go we were caught by a small group of 4-5 riders that included a rider I knew to be very strong (Chris E). Some fresh blood meant that we managed to lift our pace somewhat and I was working really hard.

With about 1 mile to go several riders attacked and I wasn’t able to respond to the jumps in pace but I was still in a good group including Chris.  Over the last ½ mile I was basically hanging on to the back of our little group for grim death and finally crossed the line in 18th Place in a time of 1h17m55s. This represented an improvement in my personal best by a margin of 4m21s.

This was another great low key hill climb and a great finale to a fun series.  This is also my last race of the 2013 season and my first race on the road with my 2013 team “Team Fremont”.

Team Mates At the Top

Results:

Low Key Hill Climb Series Overall: 23rd Place

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