Yesterday morning I attended the Mount Ascutney Hill Climb Race in Ascutney, Vermont. The race goes up the 3.7 miles Mt Ascutney State Park road which has an average gradient of 12%.
It is part of the the BUMPS Northeast Hill Climb Championship.
I fisnished in 37:06 mins and 85th of 177 participants or 30th of 52 in my age group.
I left for Ascutney with my wife Mary Lou on Friday afternoon. We left our house at around 5pm and got to our destination five hours later. So that is about ten hours of driving for 37 minutes of riding. What a concept.
After getting up at 7:30am on Saturday, ML and I had breakfast and ended down to the start line to pick up my number. I warmed up for about 30 minutes while ML drove the car to the summit to watch the end of the race.
My public goal was to finish the race under 40 minutes while my secret goal was to do as well as my “Tour of the Gila buddy” Jamie did last year – adjusted for the weight difference or in other words 37:30 mins. Jamie is a serious and strong competitor who is having a great 2010 season so I figured that if I could be this year where he was last year than there was hope for me (!).
I also wanted to maintain an average of 270 watts. I ended up maintaining an average of 269 watts. I probably rode the last kilometer too conservatively. I didn’t know exactly where the finish line was and I had also mistakenly assumed that the last part of the climb was 22% (that is the Mount Washington climb to the finish, not Ascutney).
This race made me realize that a compact in the front and a 28-11 cassette just isn’t the right combo for a long steep climb. As soon as I got back I went to the bike shop and ordered a single 26T chainring for future hill climb races. I have worked hard on proper cadence over the last three years and thanks to my CTS coach Tim Rucker I now have a “Lance type” cadence when I climb. I am way more comfortable and efficient at 85 + RPM than at 62 RPM like yesterday.
I will also shed weight by taking off the front derailleur and rear brake before each race in the future. Finally, depending on the length of the race I will either bring one water bottle or none – but not two as I did yesterday.
My next race is up Mount Equinox on August 7.