Words to live by...

"A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others." ~Author Unknown

"A good wife is her husband's biggest fan -- no matter how crazy he is." ~Me

"May God give you.. For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer." ~ Irish Blessing

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Lookout Mountain Hill Climb

Yesterday was the Lookout Mountain Hill Climb.

Lots of people rag on this race because it's relatively expensive for a 4.5 mile race. I, however, like the race atmosphere and it's worth the $30 to me to not have to deal with cars going up and down the road when I'm trying to set my fastest time.

The forecast called for rain and snow showers.

I went to bed fully expecting to wake up to pouring rain, which would certainly have me crawling back into my nice warm bed.

When I got up at 6:15 am, I was surprised to see that, while it was cloudy, it wasn't raining and it certainly wasn't snowing. I rallied Chris out of bed and before I knew it we were in Golden registering for the race.

Girls went off at 8:40, Chris got to wait until 10:15. It was nice to warm up and have my own personal crew there taking care of my every need, including stashing a bag of warm gear in a car heading to the top. As I sat on the trainer, I thought about all of the times I've ridden up Lookout...

The first time took me around 45 minutes and I thought I was going to die. I froze on the way down.

The second time took me around 40 minutes and I thought I was going to die. I froze, again, on the way down.

The third time was in the race last year. I was gunning for the 30 minute mark, but I missed it and came in at 31:31. I froze on the way down.

The fourth time I rode it wasn't timed, but was part of a big day of riding from our house down to Golden, up Lookout, and back. I think I was actually warm that time.

The fifth time was last week when I met Chris after work for a quick spin up. I made it up in 31:50 and wasn't even breathing hard.

This year's race would be the sixth time up (at least that I remember).

I warmed up on the trainer, tapping into my new-found appreciation of a hard warmup, and then lined up with the cat 4 girls to start.

I started towards the back. I still feel like I'm not good enough to start toward the front of race packs. Perhaps one day.

The race was pretty routine. I hopped from wheel to wheel, drafting when possible, and passing girls left and right. I found one girl on a pink bike, going a pretty reasonable pace, so I settled in behind her and we cruised up the first 2/3rds of the hill.

When I rode with Chris last week, he pointed out that the big turn off parking area is around 10 minutes to the top for me. If I wanted to hit that sub-30 minute mark, I'd need to be at that point in the course around 20 minutes in. I had tried not to pay too much attention to my bike computer on the way up, since I really don't know a good pace for this route yet. However, when I hit the turn off I allowed myself to look down to see if I was near the 20 minute mark. I was fully prepared to see myself slightly over. I looked down and saw 17 minutes. I'm pretty sure a "Oh s**t" came out. I was pretty surprised to see myself going that fast.

Shortly after that part of the course I was getting major side splitting cramp things. You know, the ones you would get when you were a kid and you run too far too fast? Yeah, that didn't feel great. My legs felt good, I wasn't breathing too hard, but the side aches were really making me mad. My pace dropped a bit and I tried to follow a few different girls. Eventually I found myself in a spot between groups and I ended up riding the last sprint finish by myself.

As I crossed the line I looked down and saw the bike computer at 27 minutes.


I couldn't believe I had not only beat my 30 minute goal, but I had taken over FOUR MINUTES off my race time from last year. I hung around the top for a few minutes, putting on my many many layers of clothes for the 4.5 mile descent, and quickly bombed down to tell Chris the good news. (And no, I didn't freeze this time. The four tops, winter tights, and two pairs of gloves really helped)

I piled into Chris's big puffy belay jacket and took care of his pre-race needs, still surprised at myself. It was fun getting to watch the boys take off, Chris looking like he was shot out of a rocket immediately. He and Shawn both had good races, not far off their own best times.

The great part about a 8:30 am race in town? By noon we were home, relaxing, and settling in for a nap. After the nap we went and ate A LOT in Boulder and hung out at the bookstore while it rained.

It was a great day.


Fonk said...

Congrats on the new PR! That's awesome.

I gave up on the Lookout Mtn Hillclimb a few years ago. It's a great race, but it seems like it gets snowed out about 90% of the time, and to drive an hour+, pay $30, and then either race in crappy weather or see it postponed/canceled altogether, just isn't worth it. If I lived up there, I'd probably still do it though.

The first year I went up for it, a couple buddies and I drove up together. It had snowed all night long, but the race flyer said, "race will commence regardless of weather conditions," so we still went up. I had checked the website before we left, and my friend had called the race phone # to check for any messages. Nothing indicated the race wasn't going on. When we got up there though, there wasn't a trace of ANYBODY. Two other cars with racers pulled up (one of which had driven up from Pueblo!), and we all kind of looked at each other, asking, "did you hear anything?" "No, you?" Finally a policeman drove up and we asked him, and he told us, "Yeah, that got canceled because of the snow." Nice...

We had driven all the way up there, though, so we decided to ride it anyway. The roads were a combination of water, snow and slush, and it was all foggy, so it made for an interesting ride. The ride up wasn't so bad though; it was the ride coming down that was harsh - that was COLD!!! My buddy Dave doesn't really cycle all that much (he's a runner), so didn't have cycling clothes. He was wearing sweats, and with all that slush spraying up at us on the way down, he was completely drenched from head to toe by the time we got to the bottom. It made for a memorable ride though, and we had fun talking about it over a large Country Kitchen breakfast afterwards.

Scott said...

Wow, congrats Marni, that is a smokin' awesome time!