Sunshine Canyon is a great climb out of Boulder, leaving from the western outskirts and climbing about 9 miles and 3000', with the last section on dirt. Race day was cool and clear and we were excited because Rob Gilbert was there as well, so we had our entire adult contingent of RapidRacing in the field! Rob's Report:
The Sunshine Hill Climb, my first race rocking the Rapid Racing kit, went about as expected. I always hope I’m miraculously fitter than I think I am, and am always wrong about that. Time was 52:48, about 90 seconds slower than my last race up Sunshine in 2009, finishing middle of the pack in 45+, 1-3.
The legs felt fairly good despite no racing or race-intensity efforts since the HCTT in March. I really needed a smaller gear though. I spent about half the race out the saddle due to my inability to turn the 39 x 26 up the really steep stuff while seated. I think a 36 chainring would have been perfect, but hopefully it’s better training with a bigger gear. On the up side, a pesky calf injury that I have been dealing with for about a year now was not an issue, and my lower back, which usually doesn’t like extended efforts out of the saddle, held up fine.
Next bike race for me will probably be the Lookout Mountain climb on August 4th, with the Boulder Peak Triathlon on July 8th in between, then another triathlon on August 19th in Steamboat. My plan this year is to ramp up gradually over the summer and hit good form in early October for cross season.
This race was a complete contrast to Iron Horse for me! At that race, I didn't really accomplish any of my goals, but was really satisfied with my effort. In Sunshine, I posted my best time ever, but felt like I was never really able to push myself and didn't give a max effort. In large part, I think this was because I didn't warm up well, which is inexcusable for a guy that primarily focuses on cx racing! Within the first mile, even before the climbing started, I could tell I was in trouble. I already felt I was at my limit. As soon as the road turned up, I quickly slid from 2nd wheel to almost the back of the pack. I tried to settle in and just ride my pace, and about 1/3 the way through started to come around.
Although my time was good, I'm left wondering how much better it could have been. Oh well, at least I can chalk it up as a lesson learned, and best done during the 'racing for fun' portion of our season! Next up is likely the Mike Horgan HC on July 1, which this year heads from Boulder to Nederland over Sugarloaf Mtn.
Sunshine Canyon is a ride I regularly do as a lunch/training ride so I am pretty familiar with it. That doesn't mean that I'm very fast at getting up it, but I was looking forward to getting a little more racing in.
My group, Cat 3's, started 30 seconds behind the Cat1/2 field. We quickly caught up to them and closed the gap, not because we are faster riders, I think my group was just a little more anxious. Since we weren't supposed to "work" with them, a few girls went around. Ugh. Now I'd have to go too. I knew the Cat 1/2 field would catch us but I didn't want a larger gap to form between me and the front of my field. Especially since hill climbing is not a strength of mine. So, I was in a group of 6 girls and it was clear to me that I was the weakest. I hung in as long as I could but started to lose contact. That's okay, I know the climb so I settled into a nice rhythm and could eventually see one of the girls from my group. I managed to catch her within the last 2 miles and maintained it to finish 5th. I also posted my best time!
When I got to the top I was able to cheer on Rob and Carl to the finish. It was really fun to have another teammate out there!