Race Report: Guanella Pass Hill Climb MM 40+ 3
GUANELLA: Hillclimbs are tough to report on. The tactics are few and far between, and it often comes down to who had the smaller breakfast. I'm pleased to report that our team came with a plan and it worked great.
It started with Primal institution and resident Atlas Shrugged, Jeff Krause. Krause is 800 lbs and 92 feet tall, so just showing up to a hillclimb is a win. But he decided that he was going to make an impact, and that he did. From the gun, he moved to the front and dragged us all up the five hardest switchbacks of the course, strung out like we were following Team Sky. This allowed me to move up to great position with total confidence, and by the time he ran out of gas, I could make a move.
Once the power dropped and Krause's matches were all used up, I launched immediately. Luckily, the field was too tired from chasing to respond, and I was up the road pretty quickly, with only one follower: fellow teammate Mike Zimski. Together, we rode another quarter way up the climb until I felt like it was time to go.
Hillclimbs are funny that way, you're typically alone, riding against yourself and the fear of getting caught. That's why I do well. I have so much fear, and it only drives me to keep going. I was so scared the rest of the course. Scared of getting caught and dropped. Scared of getting surprised. Scared that I didn't have legs. And mostly, scared that I couldn't tie it all up after finding myself with such an advantage.
I kept it together for the remainder of the race, eventually winning, but not before I got to ride up to the SM3s in the field ahead. It was a good day; a great day, where my legs held up and I got to ride with some of my favorite people along the way.
Hillclimbs are everything - they're tough, they're funny, they're a referendum on starvation and training, and they're the place where weirdos like myself can finally act naturally. I love them, and I love Guanella. It wasn't easy. But it was magical.