Monday, May 19, 2008

Getting spanked on the Kanc

Saturday morning was the Crank the Kanc Kancamagus Bicycle Hillclimb Time Trial. A race we all try to do each year. Last year we did it as a 3 person team. We went back to doing it solo this year.

The concern all week leading up the to race was the weather. Well it was one of my concerns, besides being way out of shape. It looked like it was going to rain pretty hard and be in the low 40's. Quite a combo that could also mean some snow at the top. As Friday night rolled around, the Red Sox game was a rain out and the radar looked like the forecasts were spot on. When we got up early Saturday morning we were pleasantly surprised that it had not rained, yet. As I was loading the car with the bikes it started to sprinkle. I figure, "here it comes." It was already about 50 degrees so that was nice.

We staged a car at the top of the climb as we had a little league game immediately after the race to get to and at the top it was dry and about 48 degrees. We headed back to registration and got our stuff ready to go as it started clearing. As we waited for the race to commence the sun started to appear and we all started to wonder if we were overdressed. By the race start for me I was down to a jersey, bibs and arm warmers.

The weather turned out to be fantastic. Mid 60's and sunny. Although there was a descent head wind at times. It must have been significantly stronger for me that other people though.

Overall the race was the same as it usually is, 21.3 miles of up hill fun. The first ten are a constant climb gaining about a thousand feet of elevation. The middle section is a little flatter where over the next 6+ miles you gain about 200 feet. Then you hit the wall of the final climb. 4.8 miles where you gain over 1,500 feet. There are no flats or places to rest. Well there are rest areas and scenic vistas, but if you stop you might not decide to get back on the bike again.

I felt OK during the ride, notice I'm not calling it a race anymore. I was looking for a time around an hour thirty. I was a few minutes off pace when I hit the final climb. No doubt due to the poddy stop I needed to make on the way. Problem was I did not have enough in the tank to make up any real time on the climb. As a result I chugged along working to try to catch people in front of me and not let too many people pass me. Not that I could do anything about a fast guy coming past me if I wanted too.

I think one of the most disappointing things to see is when you are on the last climb and starting to wonder why you are doing this foolish event you start seeing the people who stared before you ripping down the mountain at 40+ mph, not even bothering to say hello, or good job or even a nod of the head. The last 5 miles can be a lonely ride.

I rolled across the line and was worn out. My back was starting to tighten and both calves were also getting crampy. It was good it was not any longer. I finished but 7 minutes off my last solo time so that was a disappointment. Regardless it was a nice day for a bike ride. Hopefully next year I can get more bike time in before the race and fare better. Congrats to everyone who raced. See ya on the trails.


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