Low-Key Hillclimbs 2007 #1: Montebello Road

Montebello Road Low-Key Hillclimb - photo by Ron

Now that was much better.

The Low-Key Hillclimbs are back for 2007! Once again, the series began with a return visit to the slopes of Montebello Road last Saturday.

In last year’s ride, I suffered greatly, having went out too fast in the beginning with the misguided intent of wanting to keep up with the main pack. I finished in 48:54, a far cry from my previous best of 39:30. I hadn’t cycled that much during the year, and my poor form allowed me to runaway with the Low-Key Endurance Award.

This year, I’m aiming for the Most Improved From Last Year Award. In the first half of 2007, I was cycling more often. I did a number of long rides with significant climbs, culminating with my triumph at the Death Ride in July. Fellow Low-Key riders, Jorge and Stephen, also succeeded in completing all five ascents of up the passes of Monitor, Ebbetts and Carson.

Following the conclusion of the Death Ride, I’ve been running and swimming more than cycling. Whenever I have gotten on the bike, however, I’ve been riding with solid AirFree tires. After several hundred miles, I’ve come to the conclusion that my AirFree Tires are good for training but not racing. My average speed was 2-3mph slower with the AirFree tires than with my a standard clincher. This wouldn’t cut it for me if I wanted to have a good showing at Low-Key, so the night before Montebello, I peeled off the AirFree tires and put on a brand new pair of Michelin Pro Races and tubes.

The new tires definitely made a notable difference yesterday, as I felt much better while climbing. Although my heart rate jumped up quickly beyond my LT, I never felt completely wasted on the ride. Montebello is a climb that features a really tough initial two miles (to the school), followed by a flat section of one mile and a finishing climb of another two miles. By going too fast in the beginning last year, I was too cooked to push it on the flats. This time, I resisted the urge to speed up at the beginning and was thus able to conserve some strength by the time we reached the school. I hammered as best as I could before the finishing climb. I was very happy with my time of 42.45, a good six minutes faster than last year and only three minutes and change from my personal best!

Now, if I could only lose a few more pounds, I could seriously challenge my goal of breaking 39 minutes! I’d still have a ways to go before I am riding with the big boys though. The fastest time up Montebello was posted by Chris Phipps. He shattered the previous course record by last year’s Low-Key Champion, Tracy Collwell, finishing in 26:05!

Next Up: King’s Mountain

This year’s Low-Key features nine climbs instead of seven. We actually only did six climbs last year, as the fearsome Bohlman-On-Orbit was cancelled due to rain. Tomorrow’s ride will take us up King’s Mountain Road. In training for the Death Ride, Jorge, Richard, and I did the Double King’s Mountain. I’m happy that we’ll just do it once this time around!

Photos and Week 6 Photography

I forgot to bring my camera, but John and Ron have posted their photos up on Flickr. The photo above of Jorge, JT, Stephen, Jeff, Sean, and me was taken by Ron.

This year, I’m coordinating the Week 6 ride up Welch Creek. I’ve organizing the members at my camera user group to help document the ride. I don’t know if we’ll have motorcycle pace vehicles, but I promise we’ll have some unique footage from the event to share!

1 thought on “Low-Key Hillclimbs 2007 #1: Montebello Road

  1. […] in 2006, I completed Montebello Road in 48:54. In 2007, fresh off of completing the Death Ride, I reached the top in 42:45. My time regressed in the rain in 2008, with me bringing up the rear with a time of 47:57. All of […]

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