I have lost the count of the number of times I have ridden the Altamont pass but I have ridden it 85 times since I joined Strava. I have encountered some absolutely horrendous winds on this road and had my fingers crossed that it wasn’t going to be too bad on the day. On the other hand I was praying for a strong headwind (Westerly) so I didn’t lose all my leaderboard positions on the 3 distinct hills. 9 times out of 10 it is a wind blowing from the West that normally gets stronger as the day progresses. An early start is a distinct advantage. My start time was a very disappointing 1:17.
- Altamont Ghost Golf Course climb – KOM 3m02s – 20.2MPH
- Altamont Mid Hump = 2nd 49s = 20.4MPH
- Altamont Dump Hill – KOM 3m08s – 18.4 MPH
Since my stroke I haven’t been anywhere close to these times and I have been nearly a minute slower on the two longer sections. These best times were from when I was super fit and I don’t expect to ever get close to them again. I didn’t really have any tactics for the race. Try to push as big a gear as possible on the fast outbound leg (holding back a bit) then go as hard as I could on the way back. My chosen steed (TT bikes were banned for mere mortals) was my Storck but I did go for the Kask TT helmet.
Race day dawned with the usual stonking headwind back and quite cool temperatures. It was really fast on the way out and I ran out of gears on the three hills. 50×12 just wasn’t enough for the 40MPH+ descents. I touched 46MPH at one point. My wife on her 52×11 with 60mm wheels touched 56MPH !!!!! I held back a bit on the way out to save a bit for the brutal headwind home. It didn’t really help though and I really suffered on the way back and I was caught by my minute man (ex Team Mate Rick Lawton) on the golf course climb. I was also caught by my two minute man but this time on the Mid hump. My power for the whole course was 230W which was about what I expected. I actually caught one rider and finished 9th out of 10. I was quite pleased to have beaten 30 minutes and not be last. It only took 7.5 minutes to get out to the turn so that shows how tough it was on the way back.
- Position : 9/10
- Time : 29m50s
- Winners Time : 25m20s (Rob Herrick)