Climb Stats :
- Length: 5.3 Miles
- Altitude Gain: 1940ft
- Gradient: 6.95% *
*Note: This grade is misleading as there is a 1 mile pretty flat section in the middle of the climb.
I decided to ride up to the false flat on the climb as a warmup and to see how the legs felt. The 42″ gear felt a little tall on the opening section but the lungs and legs were working OK. The air temperature was already getting really hot. On the way back down I encountered the Achilles heel of Latex tubes and had a front wheel blowout on a hairpin turn. I managed to stop OK and stay upright but when I went to change the tube I was shocked just how hot the front rim was. Latex tubes don’t like the heat and I was running them at 120PSI so the tube just gave up.
Fortunately the tube let go right next to a team mate so I had help to swap the tube (non latex) to a regular one (I had forgotten my spares and pump on the warmup). I hammered it back to the parking lot (not easy on 42″) and changed my pressures to 105 to be on the safe side. To be honest the tires didn’t feel sluggish at this pressure even though they are supposed to be 115 minimum. The lightweight rims really don’t seem to dissipate heat anywhere near as well as the Alex rims I used on my practice session last week. I am however rethinking my wheel strategy for this series and I am probably going to ditch the latex tubes.
The race starts with a 20MPH neutralized downhill to the start of the climb. I had major difficulties spinning the gear fast enough to keep up and my attempts weren’t helped by a crash in front of me where a couple of riders touched wheels. My strategy was to not go too deep on the first mile then wind it up between mile 1 and 2 where I had a mile to recover. I pretty much nailed the strategy but the false flat section proved to be very frustrating. I got passed by lots of riders here and trying to spin the legs after grinding up the previous two miles was not easy and certainly not much of a recovery. If anything it ruined my rhythm and when the climb started in earnest again at mile 3 I really struggled to get going again. I took me about a mile before I felt comfortable with my cadence and I started winding it up the best I could. I caught a few riders on the steeper bits but the heat was starting to take it’s toll (high nineties) and I was struggling over the last half mile. When I got to finish I almost couldn’t shout out my number as my tongue was stuck to the roof of my mouth.
My goal was to beat 35 minutes which I managed .
I was only just over a minute down on my result from last year on a normal road bike. I was actually faster from Mile 1 to 2 and over the last 0.5 miles but lost a lot in the middle section. I can understand the big loss between 2 and 3 miles (the “flat” bit)but I was a bit disappointed to lose so much time over mile 3 to 4.5.
Overall Time : 32m48s