Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Race Report: Guanella Hill Climb by Steve Fangman

Here's a little more about the Guanella race this morning.  If you have not gone up Guanella pass from Georgetown, I recommend it.  They paved it a couple years back, and it is smooth as silk.  The 11 mile hill climb starts in Georgetown, and heads up to the top of the pass.  Paved the entire way.

I felt like my training crossed over a plateau last week.  My last few times up Flagstaff have been PR's for me, and felt I was ready for this race.  A couple weeks ago, I stunk it up on Mike Horgan.  The registration for this race was discounted if done early, so I was in the 45+ 1-2-3 mood back in April when I registered.  With my previous HC finishes with this gang (middle pack on Sunshine, and almost last on Horgan), I was not wanting another ass-kicking.

There were probably 18 or so in my group.  We launched at 8:57AM, the temp was about 65, and the winds were light and variable.  Good conditions.  Starting up the hill, the pace seemed surprisingly civil.  There was a guy who pushed the pace up a notch, and I noticed some guys were already dropping off the back.  This surprised me, and I wondered when the attack would launch.  Content to sit in for the first few miles, the pack had split.  As the pace was relatively slow, the back group eventually caught the lead group.  To thin the herd, I took the front with a solid pace for a mile.  When I looked behind me, we were back to 7-8 with heavy panting all around.  Good, just what I wanted.

I drifted to the back, and caught my breath.  After another mile, this tall Boulder Orthopedics guy attacked, and I chased.  He and I ended up getting a 30 second gap, and it was all I could do to hold on to his wheel.  We traded off a few times, and things seemed to be going well.  Then, he didn't want to work.  He kept looking back, and said his teammate and good friend was trying to bridge up to us, and he wanted the pace to ease back so his friend could catch up.  Well, I didn't want anything to do with that.  We had three miles of steep grade, and I did not want to give up any gap that I had.  So, the hammer stayed to the floor.  It was all me till the last 1KM, when my new friend (Jeff Hartmann) realized his friend was not going to catch up.  I launched an attack just before the last switchback, which Jeff was able to cover.  He took a turn up front with the accelerator down, hoping I had blown my wad on the previous attack.  I settled into a rhythm on his wheel, and launched my attack at the 200M mark.  He did not try to cover it, and I WON!

After the race, there was FREE BEER (the best part...after winning).  I learned Jeff is an accomplished TT racer, and he felt bad (admitting to me over post-race beer) for not working.  He said he was happy I had some left in the tank to take the win...and so was I.  He is a really cool guy.

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