I've trained well for this. My weight is 74 kg. The Lynskey titanium frame and GS Astuto carbon 50 mm wheels weigh in at 8kg. The gearing is 34 × 25 bottom gear.
The course is 18.4 km. 7.4 percent average gradient. Some steep sections. Some easier sections. At 2,600 metres, the air is thin at the top. Strong winds are also a factor.
I plan a good one.
Two climbs up to the top of the small pass at tempo pace. Then raise the heart rate to 170 HR x 3.
(20 km, 800 m climbing)
80 to 90 E3 starters. Light rain. Perfect racing conditions!
A neutral start. Behind the race car. Nice and easy.
The flag drops. Jostle for position.
The first 4 km are 10 percent plus all the way. A small group of 5 get a gap. I'm in a second group of about 10.
I should be in the front group. But I'm not that kind of explosive rider. I'll try to draw them in...
80 cadence. 180 heart rate.
I break from our group. One guy, race number "550", on my wheel. I signal him through. "Let's work together".
4km on the clock. Through the toll gate. The 5 leading riders are 100m up the road. An easy section. A big dig to close the gap. Don't ... quite ... make ... it ...
Steep again. A big guy falls off the front group. 550 attacks as we pass him.
Still 12 km to go. "Take my wheel". But he can't hold it.
In the distance another rider drops off the front. 550 joins him. 2 of them up the road. The road flattens. They start to rotate.
Into the big ring. I need to bridge. Someone on my wheel? A team Tondemo rider "How you going Andy?" "Enjoying the ride!"
That was it. I was really enjoying it. First time to feel this good on a climb in years...
"Let's work together." "First let's catch those two!"
The Tondemo guy is strong. Soon we are a 4.
I love this course. So much variation. Really steep. But also rolling in places. We start to rotate. One guy can't hold pace. He drops off the back. Down to a 3.
The road steepens. The Tondemo guy is too strong. He opens a gap. Let him slip away. A great move that will see him finish 2nd.
Just me and 550. 5th and 6th on the road?
The upper reaches. A marshal warns about the wind as we turn a corner...
Wham! Straight from the side. We work together to shelter each other. A two man echelon!
Pass a Nalsima guy who's fallen off the front. He’s gone. 4th and 5th now?
Another rider joins from behind. He's strong. Taking big pulls. We're rotating well though. We need to in this wind.
It’s like tornado time in Kansas. A big guy like me has an advantage when the wind is like this. The deep rim wheels are steady. A great test for them. Two riders sheltering in my shadow.
Like the flick of a switch, the wind changes. Dorothy and Toto come flying passed! Like leaves in the wind. I’m out of the saddle. Raise the mast! 40 kmph up a 10 percent grade! Laughs all round….
Right up in the clouds now. 3 of us battling it out for 4th, 5th and 6th.
Up and up. Above the tree line. Snow on the side of the road.
On to the top of the mountain. Rolling road. Head wind. 1 km to go...
My effort has been a TT. A TT on the limit. So when it comes to sprint time ... I just … don't … have it ...
Result: ( 6th, 1:08:50, 172/180 HR)
Happy with my effort though. I'm back as a hillclimber. I'd almost given up. Loving climbing once more!