I celebrated New Year’s Day by racing the San Bruno Hill Climb, an annual 3.5 mile sanctioned hill climb in Brisbane, CA - just south of San Francisco. The climb starts with a 7-8 percent grade up Guadalupe Canyon Road and a turn into San Bruno Park, and up Radio Road with narrow switchbacks and grades up to 10%.
Screen shot from my Garmin
There were 228 participants: 194 men and 34 women. I raced with the Women’s Cat 4 (W4) group which had a field of 20. I knew the W4 competition was formidable because two of the women had stellar performances in the low key hill climb series. I finished tenth with an official time of 24:19 (actual time 23:59). My “goal” was 24 minutes so I was pleased with my performance as a racing newbie. The results are posted at http://www.ncnca.org/road/2008/MtSanBrunoResults.html
So now, the rest of the story . . . .
I had a pre-race dream that I arrived 15 minutes after the race started, so Hermes and I arrived at 8:30 for a 10 AM start time. The parking lot was already full of activity with racers checking in, unloading equipment and setting up trainers. A trainer is a must on a short hill climb. The rule of thumb is: the shorter the race, the longer the warmup. I did a "reconnaissance" ride up Mt. San Bruno a couple weeks ago to check out the terrain, and was hoping for similar dry weather, sunny skies and calm winds. Well, 2 out of 3 aren't bad. The weather was sunny and cool (mid-40’s) but the winds already started to kick up a bit in the parking lot as I was warming up on my trainer.
Velodiva on the trainer
Most cyclists have trainers that hold either the front or rear wheel stationary. Above is a “purist” riding rollers without support.
The more conventional approach. The woman in the #250 won the W4 with a time of 19:58 - congrats to her!
The race was well organized and the mass start went out in two waves, three minutes apart. The Women’s Cat 4 were in the back of the second wave in back of the Elite men 5 - few of them wanted to hang back with us – go figure. The road leading up to the top was closed to traffic. This is about as safe as bicycling riding gets.
This is the Cat 4 women with Velodiva in the middle on the Orbea Orca and green Webcor team kit.
Here is a Elite Cat 5 cyclist in an interesting skinsuit.
Here is the starting line. It was all very civilized. Unlike running races, no announcing platforms, cheerleaders, warmup teams, loud music – just pure focus. This group was warmed up and ready to rumble.
This is men’s 55+ group.
This is a picture of the starting line consisting of the Pro 1/2s.
This is the first wave up the hill. The peloton is tightly packed.