Mount Equinox Uphill Bike Climb presented by: The Rotary Club of Manchester as a benefit for The Lyme Disease Association and other local charities.

2011 Hillclimb – Filmed by Greg Larkin

In The August 2011 Gear Up For Lyme event, Greg Larkin strapped a video camera to his bike and recorded his entire –and we think impressive, race to the summit. Greg has given us permission to include his mile by mile video and accompanying commentary on our website and we’d like to thank him for that. Thank you, Greg!

Mile 1 – Mile 2 – Mile 3 – Mile 4 – Mile 5 – Final Half Mile

Mile 1:

Greg Larkin: “The day of the Mount Equinox Bicycle Hillclimb dawned warm and muggy, even by the scheduled 8am start time. I lined up in the 3rd row of the topnotch wave, a little further back than I would have liked. However, my plan this year has been to start each hillclimb very gradually and ramp up the effort over the first mile.

The race organizers include a prime at the 1 mile mark to keep things interesting. Whoever gets there first from all of the waves wins $500! As you can imagine, this prompts some crazy efforts right from the gun.

The first mile of the race starts with a decent grade for a few tenths of a mile, then a flat section before another kick to the start of the second mile. Since I had no interest in attempting the prime, I went out easily and tried to pick off riders one by one.

A rather large group rolled off the front immediately, making me think that perhaps I should speed up a bit, but I stuck with my plan. This race is fairly long at 5.4 miles, so I felt that I had time to reel in anyone who started too quickly. By the time we reached the beginning of the real climbing just before the 1 mile mark, many riders were coming back already, so I pressed on.”

Mile 2:

Greg Larkin: “Proceeding into the second mile of the race, i started slowly bringing Marti Shea (Destination Cycling) into view. This was a completely unexpected development, since she often bests me by 1-2 minutes in hillclimb races. I learned later that she raced the Tour of the Catskills TT the day before, so that explained that! She set a women’s course record at Equinox, though, so I must have been on a good day anyway.

She was also closing the gaps to several other riders, so as long as I stayed close to her, I also moved forward. For a little while, she, Jeff Johnson (Battenkill-United) and I formed a group. After a little bit of breather, I decided to just ride alongside them in order to keep my own pace going. There certainly wasn’t any benefit to drafting on this slope!

As we approached the mile 3 marker, I acted as the carrot and tried to keep a manageable pace and let the cards fall where they may.”

Mile 3:

Greg Larkin: “Shortly after the 2 mile marker, there is a short downhill section before the climb kicks in again. Up ahead, I was closing in on Patrick Sullivan (Joe’s Garage), and Marti Shea (Destination Cycling) was still following closely.

I tried to power through the downhill and into the next uphill, but she passed me, and I had to work hard to catch back on. That provided some extra motivation at a critical point in the race, and that wasn’t a bad thing!

It tooks several minutes for us to link up with Patrick, as he was on a good day. Marti took sharp lines through the switchbacks, and by following her, we came up to him a little more quickly. It still took what seemed like forever to close down the final gap, as seen in the next video.”

Mile 4:

Greg Larkin: “Marti Shea and I finally caught Patrick Sullivan at the start of the 4th mile of the race. I had to keep working hard to avoid getting dropped, but generally once I’ve caught someone in a hillclimb race, they don’t typically surge forward, assuming I still have something in the tank.

Patrick resisted our efforts to catch him for a bit, and we bided our time, but then I started riding my own pace again and moved forward. At this point in the race, there were only a few riders ahead of us, so there weren’t as many carrots to use for motivation.

This part of the course is very difficult, too, because it’s a constant grade on a straight section of road, and you can see that’s you’ll still suffer for a good while. Once I got to the straight section, I could see two more riders ahead, John Bayley (Ride Studio Cafe) and Ulandt Kim (Belmont Wheelworks). Both are stellar climbers, and I knew I would do well if I could catch them.

This goal proved exceedingly difficult to achieve, and I might have been going only .1 mph faster than them. I kept my power output as steady as possible, even without the benefit of a power meter, and I knew that we would soon approach “The Saddle” section of the course.”

Mile 5:

Greg Larkin: “As I approached “The Saddle” section of the course, John Bayley (Ride Studio Cafe) and Ulandt Kim (Belmont Wheelworks) were in clear view, and it appeared that I was slowly bringing them back. The emphasis was on “slowly”!

After we all passed into the switchbacks after The Saddle, I had to focus more on not blowing up than attempting to catch anyone at this late point in the race. I knew from last year that the inside corners of the switchbacks are extremely steep, and I tried one of them to see if I could cut off some distance. I survived that experiment, but not without some extra pain.

After driving the course the night before, I knew that I had four switchbacks until I reached the 5 mile marker, and I just kept focusing on counting them down and keeping my efforts as high as possible.”

Final Half Mile

Greg Larkin: “I knew after driving the course the night before that once I passed the 5 mile marker, I would be able to see the finish straight almost immediately. I also remembered from last year that the final meters would be rife with pain! As the line came in sight, all I could do was increase my cadence as much as possible and didn’t even try to stand and sprint. John Bayley and Ulandt Kim were out of reach this time, but I was extremely pleased with my effort on this day.

Final result: 42:28 – 9th overall and 5th in the M40-49 category.”

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

John Sutton February 7, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Great series, Greg! I’m looking forward to August already.

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Fern Wagner February 9, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Very inspiring! Thanks for sharing.

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Greg Larkin February 14, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Glad you enjoyed it, and we look forward to riding up Mt. Equinox again, too. Here are some nice pictures from my drive up the mountain the evening before the race last year: http://on.fb.me/yL4jVs

Cheers,
Greg

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