Tuesday, September 30, 2014

ElliptiGo World Champs

ElliptiGo World Championships – Palomar Mountain CA
I got up a bit early on race morning and headed out for an easy 5 mile run on the Inland Rail Trail in Escondido.  I wanted to make sure I’d get my mileage in and wasn’t exactly sure how much warm-up I’d do at the ElliptiGo World Championships.
I headed over and got my loaner “Go” and made sure that all systems were “Go”.  The only other participants I knew were Simon Gutierrez (Mt Washington hall of fame member) and Rusty Snow (2-time Go champion and formerly kicked my ass a bunch of times when he lived in New England).  I did an easy 2 mile ride to the start line and watched the early waves head out.  Each wave was based on expected finishing time and I would be heading out in the final group of 8 (sub-1:25).
I had no idea how fast I could go, I’ve done some climbs and I’ve done some long rides but I’ve never raced the Go and certainly never raced up a course like this.  The 11.7 mile course had 4,200’ of climb at a pretty steady grade.  I chatted a bit with Simon and he was looking to break 1:20 which was what I hoped to do as well.
Our group headed out with all of us together for the first ½ mile.  I thought “this isn’t too bad”, and then ZOOM..Rusty took off and three guys went with him.  I hung with Simon and Mike Dyon (a 2:14 marathoner from Canada), but found the going to be tough.  Every time I shifted into 2nd gear they drifted away, I’d shift into 3rdand work my way back to them.  I just couldn’t find a comfortable groove but I told myself that I had to stay with them for the first 5 miles.  At 5 we turned onto South Grade road and the climb got a bit tougher (350’ per mile).  I felt pretty good at first and even took the lead of our group for ½ mile, but Mike and Simon re-passed me and dropped me.
I kept them within 30-45 seconds for the next couple of miles but just couldn’t close the gap.  At 8 miles Mike dropped Simon and they both moved out of sight.  The last three miles had a little over 400’ of climb per mile and I slowed about a minute a mile slower than the previous three miles.  I was giving all I had but was slowing down for sure.  Up until the final 3 I thought I’d still be in the low 1:20’s but in the final miles I was just hoping to keep it under 1:25.
I reached the line in 1:24:45 for 10th place overall and 3rdin the 50+.  It certainly was a different experience!  It was as hard as any mountain race I’ve done.  I think that being one of the lightest riders probably hurt as the bigger guys seem to be able to get more out of the elliptical motion.  No complaints, I left it all out on the course.
The ride down was WILD.  I rode the brakes most of the way down and was still doing miles in the 25-28 MPH range.  The 13.6 miles back to the parking lot took me just 36:31 and I hardly pedaled at all.  I finished off the day with another (slow) 5 mile run on the rail trail to get some of the latic acid out.
Top 10
1.    Rusty Snow 1:09:55
2.    Rick Bienias 1:10:25
3.    Darren Bronw 1:12:16
4.    Elliot Heath 1:16:59
5.    Jeff Mann 1:18:48
6.    Mike Dyon 1:19:38
7.    Bryce Whiting 1:23:00
8.    Simon Gutierrez 1:23:07
9.    Jordan Trump 1:23:20
10. Dave Dunham 1:24:45

Mile splits (and climb)
6:15 - 356'
7:31 - 413'
6:25 - 313'
6:42 - 336'
5:14 - 191'
7:22 - 360'
7:16 - 371'
7:19 - 365'
7:59 - 393'
8:18 - 402'
8:30 - 381'
5:50 (.7 miles) - 275'


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