Sunday, September 14, 2008


OK, Kingsbury. Whatever.

Last Sunday was the final installment of the Sierra Nevada Hill Climb TT Series. I went for two obviously contradictory reasons: to have fun, and to shatter myself.

This one's 2550 vertical feet, leading from the flat farmland of Carson Valley up into the Sierras, ending in the neighborhood of Heavenly's Nevada side base lodges.

My only previous trip up Kingsbury had been a few days before Burning Man in the early stages of a loooong solo ride, so I was at least familiar with the layout. I was certainly not familiar with the minutae of the climb, though.

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I started fifth, so assuming I rode well, I wouldn't have an endless supply of people to chase.

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Clipping in

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Getting up to speed

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And into the aerobars

The fastest section is the very bottom; had to work hard to take advantage of lesser grades, but not too hard; it's just the first few minutes, after all.

By about 9 minutes in, I had caught the four riders in front of me. Clear road ahead and no motivation to be gleaned from the prospect of catching people; this was new and was going to be tough.

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Speedy Max Polin, picking off another one

Max, who handily won the first three events of the series, charged to a new course record (35:01) by over 3 minutes...the old record was admittedly a tad slow, but 3 minutes...damn.

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The fun has only just begun

Of course, the steepest part is from the false summit to the finish. Lovely.

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Hanging on for dear life; one turn left to go; ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch

I was definitely happy with my ride. I managed to put up 38:16. It hurt a lot, but it's supposed to.

And Max's ride was definitely impressive. The kid's a monster.

But most impressive, I thought, was a fellow named Alan. Alan is a big guy, although 100 pounds lighter than he was a year ago. He started first, by choice, since he knew he'd be slow. He'd climbed Kingsbury over 30 times this year, but had never done it without stopping, and his goal for the TT was to avoid taking a break.

It took him a while, but he did it, and that's huge. He was all smiles at the top, and went home a very proud guy.

It was a great way to start the day, and I even passed up my hard-earned reward of riding back down the the start. Ethel had the car at the top, and we dropped off the summit into the Tahoe Basin, quickly making tracks to the beach, the cool clear waters of Tahoe calling us for a dip...

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