Economic Cycles

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Mike Horgan Hill Climb Race Report

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Going into the race today, Primal had very little in the way of strategy or big aspirations. It was going to be a war soaked with suffering and pain. My thought going into the race was that it would be relatively calm on Canyon Road and then get really hectic about 500 meters before the left turn onto Magnolia – where the fireworks would begin. Then my thinking was to make the selection on Magnolia (or at least keep them in view) and use the rest of the race to fight (or bridge) for the win or the podium.

Promptly at 8:25am, we headed out onto Canyon Road. The pace was quicker than I expected, with much of the group strung out in a single line. My positioning for the first couple of miles sucked, but I could see the Zilla guy on the front keeping the pace high. Why he was choosing to do this was beyond me. As we made our way up Canyon, the cars started to back up next to us and we were forced to push our single file line down the right shoulder. Very shortly we came upon a grizzly scene: an ambulance and paramedics attending to a badly hurt man who appeared to have been the official’s moto. The motorbike was on the ground near the man facing the wrong direction. Not a good sight to see. We made our way through the wreck and continued on. Then, to my surprise and sheer joy, a rider came along side of the pace line with no one behind catching the free ride. “Don’t mind if I do,” I said to myself. This rider was like a godsend. He allowed me to sit on his wheel the entire rest of the way up Canyon. Not only that, he was moving us to the front and keeping us in the front. It was like having a teammate I didn’t know, wearing another kit, selflessly helping me. Thanks random dude!

When the left turn onto Magnolia came into sight, BW shot straight to the front and hammered it. I tucked into the line, about 4th wheel. Goal #1 accomplished. I made it onto Magnolia with very few riders ahead of me, and thus, very few riders to go past as they all started dropping like flies. And indeed they did. I knew this was where I could make some moves and identify who would make up the podium. The main contenders were two Zilla guys and the really strong Mexican rider from University bikes we raced with at Dead Dog. I followed their wheels, but mostly the U-bikes guy. The Zilla guys on the other hand were starting to make a little gap on us. I rode with the U-bikes guy for a bit on the sadistically steep road going around 6mph with a 50rpm cadence. It was brutal.

Eventually, the U-bikes fella started gaping me. He would dance on his pedals like Contador around the really steep switchbacks and I would attempt to follow. His standing was much better than my standing. It was starting to take a toll on me. His gap was growing. In other words, the podium was dancing away from me.

“Justin. Go get the podium. It’s right there.” I kept repeating that statement in my head over and over again.

I’ll save you the gory details of my suffering. But rest assured, I suffered and suffered and suffered. The first 4 miles of Magnolia are so steep and so slow, they seem to take forever. I remember looking down at my computer and seeing just over 7 miles ridden. “We still have 14 to go. Fuck.” Then I’d look just ahead of me and see the podium riding away. “Fuck. I gotta get that guy.” And so I tried. But as hard as I pushed, I could not bridge the gap to 3rd place. Every time I’d make some headway and get closer. Close enough to spit on his back wheel, he’d look behind, see me, and turn it up a notch. Headway eliminated.

2K to go. My legs are broken.

Right before we hit the rolling dirt section, a rider with some Zipp 303s rolled up beside me. We worked together through most of the dirt section. He took some great pulls on the flats and downhills in the dirt. I kept him motivated by reminding him that the guy in the white jersey right in front of us was the podium. “There he is. Go get him.” So we inched closer and closer. About the time he looked to be in striking distance is about the time I started to come undone. The guy who was working with me took a monster pull on a relatively flat section and I tried to come around. It was a bit too much. I told him that I was cracking and that if he had the legs, he should go get that podium. My words seemed to have inspired him, because he took off and caught the U-bikes guy. Good for him.

After coming out of the dirt section, we turned right onto what I believe was Peak to Peak Highway. It was mostly downhill until the final turn towards Eldora Ski Resort. My legs were in dire straights on the downhill. I did a lot of tucking and hurting. Making the left towards Eldora marked 2 miles to go. My legs were toast. I pushed down on my pedals and was rewarded with searing pain coming from my acid-filled legs. “There goes my podium. There goes 4th place.” I can’t go any faster. I can’t bridge the gap. I can’t even make myself pant anymore. It’s like the Dead Dog TT all over again. I hit the 1 mile to go marker. Ugh. “I can’t take another mile of this.” A couple more minutes passed and I could see Brika in the distance. Phew. I knew I was close to the finish. I crawled my way up to her and then past her as she took photos of my feeble attempt at pedaling with broken legs. With the finish line in sight, a guy in a black and green kit went by me. “What the…” I looked at his number. It was 400 hundred something. Shit. This guy just took 5th place from me. And guess what? There is nothing I can do about it. (Garmin file)

And that was it. 6th 7th place. No win. No podium. Just 6th 7th place and a couple of broken ass legs.

Oh, and a damn good time with friends.

Blake and I. We are JACKED.

Team Primal Racing p/b First Bank:

NOTE: I contacted the ACA and they insist that the results posted at the end of the race (with timing chips) were wrong. So they did indeed celebrate the wrong 5 guys on the podium. I was not 6th says the ACA, I was 7th. Which I still can’t understand. I was there when the race exploded and I saw who took off and gapped me. It was not 4 guys, it was 3 guys. It was the 2 Zilla race leaders and the Mexican guy of U-bikes who I had in my sights for 15 miles. Then I was caught and dropped by the guy with the 303s and then passed with 500 meters to go by some other dude when I had broken legs. I honestly have no idea where this other phantom rider came from. Oh well. I didn’t win. That much I know for sure.

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Written by jlongo12

July 2, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Posted in cycling

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