3R Volcano Climb Race — 2nd
One of my favorite races in the last 6 months!
- The start was super hard and fast; and not so fair for most of the riders. The AB pen banged into the MASSIVE CD pen. The result: if you were not near the front in the first 30 seconds you were going to find it almost impossible to get to the fast group. There were just too many C and D riders who started out fast (for about 10 seconds) and then died. After about 1 minute, there were only about 20 – 25 riders left in the front group out of 82. It is usually twice that number.
- Then on top of that, the A’s in the front group smelled a lot of blood in the water and pushed it all the way to the climb. It was where they really added on a TON of time over anyone behind who got caught out. I was just along for the ride. I wasn’t going to make it up the climb with these guys, but I thought that if I could get in a minute for two on the 2nd B groupd by the time I got to the base, then I just might be able to hold on for a top 5. That part worked.
- Once we got to the climb, I didn’t even try. I just TRIED to stay slightly above FTP (280 watts or so).. I lost my head a couple of times and tried to go with some C rider who came around me. But I eventuallly came to my senses and climbed with this Belgium dude who seemd to know what he was doing.
- We got to the top together. Unsurprisingly, the top of the volcano is a plateu (maybe 500 meters?)
- The experienced Belgian and I worked with one another all the way down the hill. At the beginning of our decent, this B rider who dropped back and that C rider who passed me earlier had something between 20-40 seconds (or more) on us. But we must have been heavier, because we came within 7 seconds with about a mile to go.
- I think that they forgot about us. On the last bump, I took off and lost my Belgian friend. Still, at the top of that last bump, they had 4 seconds on me. And the rest was a decent…not good chances: 1 against 2. But speed (at that point in the race) is everything. I had more speed at the top and, when they hesitated just a fraction before they wound it up for their sprint, I zipped around them. I wish I could say that I purposfully timed it that way, but I just got lucky.
- I ended up with an official 2nd place finish (5th on Zwift, but there must have been some relegations and folks aren’t in Zwift Power.