Although I wasn’t planning on it, earlier this week I decided to ride in the Mutual of Enumclaw Omnium road race. An omnium is a multi-event race, similar to a normal stage race. However, rather than scoring the winner of the GC – general classification, e.g. overall winner – based on overall shortest time, the omnium is scored on points. Points are awarded for each event; in this case, a time trial, criterium, and a road race. I ended up registering late (online only), and by that time Cat 4/5 was full. Thus, I ended up registering and racing Masters C/D. Masters C/D is similar to Cat 4/5, with the difference being Masters is 35+ (35 as of Dec. 31, 2007, so I just made it!). Also, Masters is typically previous Cat N-1… so Masters C/D is really more like older Cat 3/4, mostly Cat 3. Oh, and they’re all still pretty much in shape. Needless to say, I knew going in I was going to get my legs ripped off.
While the race bible said that the course would be a loop around Mud Mountain and then another loop north of Enumclaw, on the day of the race it ended up that the race would instead be 3 laps around Mud Mountain, similar to previous years. Mud Mountain is a about a 650 foot climb over 2 miles. There’s a short steep section, followed by a flat, followed by a medium not-so-steep section and a longer flat, followed by a long slog uphill. Then, it’s a fast, fast downhill on Route 410 back into Enumclaw.
Today, the hill kicked my ass. I was able to do OK on the first two parts of the hill, but I wasn’t able to keep the pace of the main group on the third hill and started falling behind. At the top of the hill, I regrouped with another teammate and two others and we tried to chase back on. While we made great time, we were still 200 yards away from a chase group a bit ahead of us and probably 400+ yards away from the main peleton. I had been thinking of just bailing after the first lap, but I missed the turn to the finish and ended up going onto the second lap. I let the group I was working with get ahead, as I was out of gas right before the hill. Well, some food, water, and active recovery, and it was back up Mud Mountain again. I did OK, a little slower than the first time through, but a much better heartrate. I made the summit solo, and had an enjoyable time bombing downhill. Only downside was that it had started to rain a bit, so it was getting cold and rainy. But hey, it was still nice and downhill.
I did make the right turn (literally) to the finish, and ended my day at two laps, about 1:40 into the ride. I was a bit disappointed I didn’t keep with the pack on the first hill and get some downhill peleton practice, but overall I was reasonably pleased with the two laps I had under me. I definitely need to work on my climbing though!
For your enjoyment, my HR chart from my Polar: