Low-Key Hillclimbs #6: Page Mill Time Trial

The Passion and Compassion: Low-Key Hillclimbs Awards and Fun Bash is being held tonight at the AMC 14 Theater in Saratoga. It’s been a couple of weeks since the final two climbs have occurred, and I’ve been remiss in my reporting.

Ever since I started road cycling in 1997, my nemesis has been Page Mill Road. I remember having to stop and dismount on several instances during my first climb up. The descent down Woodside was notable in that I started to bonk, forcing me to stop at a stranger’s house to ask for a Coke!

I don’t know what my fastest time up Page Mill, but I’m guessing that it was around 50 minutes. The sixth Low-Key Hillclimb was to be an individual time trial up the nemesis, and I was estimating my time to be 60 minutes, given my reduced fitness level.

I parked at nearby Stanford and road to the starting point at the Park-N-Ride near Arastradero Road on Page Mill. The usual suspects were there, including Stephanie, Eric, Neal, JT, and Stephen. Rae decided against going up Page Mill, which is much longer and more difficult than Highway 9 two weeks prior. Neal had a mechanical problem while getting ready for the ride — his chain broke off! Since this is the Low-Key Hillclimb Series, there was no spare bike nor mechanic available for him to continue. Kwan was a no-show, meaning my assault on the Endurance Award was going to be a little easier.

Everyone was to start off in 20 second intervals in the order that they registered. I was number 49, so there was about 15 minutes between me and the first rider. I knew from the Mt. Diablo ride that starting too fast was a surefire recipe for blowing up. When the bell rung, I began at a quick but not too fast pace. I was surprised at how quickly I got to the Ranger Station, which in my opinion, is the start of the real climb. As the miles melted away, I was feeling pretty good! Sure, it hurt and I was riding hard, but I was beginning to realize that Page Mill as a nemesis was now a mirage. Montebello, Bohlman (which I have yet to ride), and Redwood Gulch, now those are climbing beasts for me!

I arrived at the finish line with a time of 54:08, nearly 6 minutes faster that I thought I would complete the climb! The winner? Who else but Tracy Colwell, with a blistering time of 33:12.

The next week would herald the conclusion of this year’s Low-Key Hillclimb Series!

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