An Uphill Battle – Hill Climb Race Report
Today was the second race in a local hill climb series. I tried to approach it calm and relaxed since for me, this is the most stress-free type of race. The best part of hill time trials is the simplicity and purity of the race. There’s no need for a fancy time trial bike or any special aero gear which is essential in real time trials. There are no bike handling challenges and no team strategy. Each person has to rely on their own motor to propel them up the hill.
The climb gains 2,520 vertical feet over 8.05 miles and offers many beautiful snapshots of Lake Tahoe. The steepest part was in the first 2 miles. After sitting at the start for a few minutes, the first quarter of the race was tough on the legs. Someone passed me within the first 2 miles. I stayed calm and hoped that it was pro who was on his way to setting the course record. For time trials, you never know how well you’re doing and so it’s a balance between being in the right place mentally and physically holding a hard yet sustainable pace. The second quarter sailed by as I started passing a few people. After I passed the halfway point, I knew that the steepest pitches were over with but I couldn’t let off the gas. The third quarter is always the longest for me in any race. I tried to focus on technique which always tends to regress when I’m tired. Finally, I was down to less than 2 miles to go. I wanted to check my time so far, but I decided that since it was my first time doing this race, I didn’t want to have any expectations or any limits. I didn’t have any data to go off of so checking my time would have only slowed me down. With 1 mile left and virtually no climbing to go, I pushed as hard as I could through the finish line. I was happy that it was over and curious about the results. I barely even notice the snow around at 8900 feet.
I was excited to find out that I placed first in the open women’s category and 8th in the open men. One of the pros had set a new course record about 12 minutes faster than my time today. I look forward to closing that gap a little next year.