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San Bruno Hill Climb Race Report

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San Bruno Hill Climb Race Report

Old 01-03-08, 01:20 AM
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Velodiva
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San Bruno Hill Climb Race Report

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 #250 took first place in the W4 with a time of 19:58. Cpngrats 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.

Last edited by Velodiva; 01-03-08 at 10:46 AM. Reason: fix picture caption
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Old 01-03-08, 01:22 AM
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Wave 2 - Velodiva is in the green Webcor team kit.



It took about 20 seconds from the "go" before I could actually start riding. The group quickly spread out going up Guadalupe Canyon. For the most part, I rode by myself keeping an eye on my cadence and HR. The only sweet feeling was passing numerous guys and women along the way.



The gusting cross and headwinds seemed to hit at the hardest part on the quite rutty and winding Radio Tower Road. Approaching the top, I passed a little 18-year-old. She kept yelling encouragement from behind and was on my tail until the end. We ended up with the same finishing time.



Velodiva approaching the finish

Happy New Year to all!
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Old 01-03-08, 04:04 AM
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Nice report, and congratulations on the achievement.

Wouldn't it be more fun if you could race in the other direction?
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Old 01-03-08, 05:37 AM
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Appreciate the photos. As I started reading the post... The climb starts with a 7-8%... I wondered how you warm up for something that starts that way. But the photo with all the trainers in use answered that question. Sounds like a fun way to start the new year, and a good excuse not to over indulge in the holiday food excess that is so easily available to most.
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Old 01-03-08, 07:04 AM
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We're looking to putting on a hill climb similar to that around here in NC this year. We have lots of road races and other rides but lack an organized hill climb in this area.
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Old 01-03-08, 10:04 AM
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Wow. Great post. Thanks for taking the time to put all this up!
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Old 01-03-08, 10:12 AM
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Cool -- the route reminds me a bit of Tuna Canyon, in the northwest Los Angeles / Malibu area. I think Tuna is slightly steeper, but the length is almost the same.
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Old 01-03-08, 10:12 AM
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You really are quite something. Very nice post and excellent pics. Thank you for putting it up.
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Old 01-03-08, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
Nice report, and congratulations on the achievement.

Wouldn't it be more fun if you could race in the other direction?
Thanks! Actually, I am one of those freaks who would rather climb than descend.
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Old 01-03-08, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Velodiva View Post
Thanks! Actually, I am one of those freaks who would rather climb than descend.
Could we do a relay race, you on the climbs and me on the downs......
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Old 01-03-08, 10:59 AM
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Fantastic report. I feel like quoting that line, "I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy!"
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Old 01-03-08, 11:12 AM
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Congratulations!

Great pictures and report of the ride.
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Old 01-03-08, 01:21 PM
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I hate you. I love you. Great pictures, too.
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Old 01-03-08, 02:10 PM
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Wow! and nice pictures, Thanks.
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Old 01-03-08, 03:37 PM
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Holy Cow! Nice job. You also have the honor of being the first on the brand spanking new 2008 Accomplishiments web page.

http://50pluscyclist.googlepages.com
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Old 01-03-08, 08:56 PM
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Not being a racer, I have to ask. What th' heck is an 'elite Cat 4?' Does that just mean 'under 55?' I thought a Cat 4 was anything BUT elite!
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Old 01-03-08, 09:00 PM
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Great report, enjoyed reading it. Congrats on a fine performance.

Psst ... DG, you've got to get one of those skinsuits.
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Old 01-03-08, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by jppe View Post
We're looking to putting on a hill climb similar to that around here in NC this year. We have lots of road races and other rides but lack an organized hill climb in this area.
There is the Town Mtn Rd hill climb TT in Asheville.
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Old 01-03-08, 09:54 PM
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I'm outta breath just lookin' at the pix!

Well done on the race. Great write-up and photo documentation.
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Old 01-03-08, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
Not being a racer, I have to ask. What th' heck is an 'elite Cat 4?' Does that just mean 'under 55?' I thought a Cat 4 was anything BUT elite!
USA Cycling, the sanctioning body, defines an elite racer as a person between 19 and 29 years old, a former Olympian, or a member of a UCI team. Male and female racers are broken down by category 5 - 1 and Pro for the men and 4 - 1, Pro for the women. The higher the number the more novice the racer. Masters racers are 30+ years old.

A promoter of a race can chose to have further breakdowns depending on how many racers would participate in each category. So, one can offer prize money for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place for as many Elite and Masters Categories as he deems fit. Further, the Masters Category can be broken down by age group e.g. Masters 35+ Masters 45+ and etc. Each age group can be further divided by race category e.g. Master 35+ Cat 4 and 5.

So for this race the women were broken down into two groups; Cat 4 and Pro, 1,2,3. There was no further subdividing by age i.e. masters and elites. So all the Cat 4 women independent of age competed together. The men's field was larger so they had elite and masters with the master subdivided by age.
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Old 01-03-08, 10:23 PM
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Why does the Master category start so young in cycling? There are many 30+ players, yeah stars, in every major professional sport, including track & field. Lance Armstrong won 4 TdF's after turning 30.
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Old 01-03-08, 10:46 PM
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WoW Great Pictures, Quite an accomplishment!!!! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 01-03-08, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by HopedaleHills View Post
Holy Cow! Nice job. You also have the honor of being the first on the brand spanking new 2008 Accomplishiments web page.

http://50pluscyclist.googlepages.com
I am very honored! Thank you!
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Old 01-03-08, 11:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
So for this race the women were broken down into two groups; Cat 4 and Pro, 1,2,3. There was no further subdividing by age i.e. masters and elites. So all the Cat 4 women independent of age competed together. The men's field was larger so they had elite and masters with the master subdivided by age.
It's challenging being a fifty++ newbie woman racer when you are tossed in the same category as the other Cat 4 women (some are really tough! - the #1 Cat 4 woman did this in under 20 minutes) who are 18 years and up. I get it - it is all a function of the field size. If there was a Women 55+ category, it wouldn't be too meaningful placing 1/1. And this definitely keeps you thinking young!
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Old 01-03-08, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
Why does the Master category start so young in cycling? There are many 30+ players, yeah stars, in every major professional sport, including track & field. Lance Armstrong won 4 TdF's after turning 30.
Doesn't make sense to me either!!
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