Sunday, August 11, 2013

OUCH - OBRA Uphill ITT Championships

Today was the OBRA uphill state championship ITT. It was supposed to take place at Government Camp like last year, but something happened with the permits and it was cancelled ... so they moved it to OUCH this season, which is a longer climb.

The difference between last year and this year was distance: 5.6 miles to 16.0 miles and elevation gain, 1900 feet to 3400 feet.

I went into this race with pretty good hopes of being on the podium again (I actually won the race last year), but had not ridden this hill in about 5 years. I remembered a bit from that climb, but not much.

Overall, the course starts out a little flat, then goes into some "Rollers", then goes into a fairly steady climb at around 2-3% for the first half of the course, then continues to get steeper with the final half in the 4-6% range. The steepest section topped out a little over 9%.

I chose to race this on my road bike, but purchased some mini Vision TT bars for this race and another taking place in two weeks. They really help from an aero perspective without adding much weight. In the end I spent about 60% of the race in the aero bars ... so for me they were well worth putting on the bike.

I got off to a good start, catching riders within 5 minutes of the start (we went off at 30 second intervals). As I climbed I continued to catch riders so I felt good about my ride. At around 31:30 a former teammate of mine in a different category (who is about 35 pounds lighter and has similar power output) caught me ... knowing his time last year, I felt I was on course for a good overall time.

As the road got steeper, I could tell my power dropped a little and I forgot to drink some of my energy drink early in the race, so I think I ran a little low on energy over the last 20 minutes.

In the end I finished the climb in 1:07:50, which would have placed me 2nd in this race last season ... but was only good enough for 5th this season. There were three guys in the 1:04 range and one in the 1:06 range. My average power for the race was 335 watts, which wasn't too bad, but had I pushed a little harder I think I could have added another 10 watts or so to that power, however, that wouldn't have made much difference in my placing but would have shaved 40 seconds or so off my time.

Not a bad day on the bike, but I'm a little disappointed that I didn't make the podium this season ... even though I'm far from a climber at 195-200 pounds.

I have one more race this season, two weeks from now, the Wildcat Mountain ITT ... which is a little shorter, has more flat sections, but more steeper climbing sections as well. Then it's back to base miles, commuting and trying to re-coup for next season.

This season kind of fell apart at the end. I had some good races with PR's early season ... then I lost the ability to do lots of FTP work or 2x20's like last year and it cost me a good 15-20 watts at FTP. That's something I need to recover for next season as well as get my weight down earlier in the season and keep it a little lower by the end.

The bright part is I built up enough points today to win the TT cup again this season in the 40-49 class, which was one of my big goals at the beginning of the season. I had a lot of competition early in the season by one guy, then he stopped racing and I started getting more competition from another guy later in the season ... but it's a series that lasts from late winter to early fall ... so you have to race for a long time and I was able to accomplish my goal this this year.

One more race ... then onto next year.

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