I know the best way is "climb more".
If "climb more" is not an easy option (the nearest climbing workout is probably 30 miles from here), what can I do?
This weekend I confirmed one thing and learned another:
1) Confirmed: My ability to accelerate and then recover is lacking - I'm assuming due to the fact that I've been JRA and doing club rides at 8 or 9/10ths intensity. I'm planning to address this with slightly shorter, but much more intense, work-outs including short interval sessions.
2) Learned: My climbing is much worse than I thought. I simply could not keep up with the couple guys I was working with on the two hills on the course. Both were pretty short "climbs" (less than 3 minutes each I'd say) but that's pretty much all we have with within 30 or so miles.
I'd say my overall fitness is OK for a rookie (I took 8th out of 38 finishers), but I'd like to address what I in this race as my two main weaknesses currently.