Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Mt Diablo Challenge

Zachary Hilton
Diablo, CA 
Place: 61
Field:  404
Teammates: Alexander Komlik, Andy Crews
Weather:  70 degrees avg. sunny and getting warmer as you climb, direct sun was melting me :)
Start Time:  08:30 am
Total Time: 00:56:16
Power: 244 W avg, 569 W max, 251 W NP  
Average Speed: 11.55 MPH, Top Speed 31.30 MPH
Average HR: 183 Max HR: 193
Elevation Ascent: 3,120 ft

Mt Diablo Challenge!   First off thanks to all my donors who supported Save Mt Diablo in my name this year.  This mountain represents everything cycling has offered to me, and it is who I have become today.  You can see this majestic mountain all over the Bay Area.  I see it on a regular basis when I ride to work from Pleasanton, and there are areas near my Fire Station where I can see it.  Mt Diablo Challenge was the first race that I ever competed in.  I got a time of 01:12:00 and that was in 2010.  In 2014 I achieved a time of 56:16!  My goal was to go sub 54 min, and that was a tough goal to meet.  I got a personal record (PR) however of over 1 minute.  Those seemingly little milestones are actually a foundation that you build on when trying to go faster up this mountain. It lives up to its name Diablo Challenge!  You are fighting your brain and body after a few miles into this race.

I'm riding my 2009 Specialized Tarmac with the new Ultegra 6800 11 speed group set.  I want the new 2015 Tarmac :)  I ride a 53/39 11/28 for most races.  I am also racing with my Race Rim 32 Carbon Tubulars, and Vittoria Corsa EVO CX Tubulars.  My goals were to go sub 54 min, improve my time on the climb, and enjoy the life I have!   I arrived early and warmed up on the trainer for around 45 minutes.  Pack a bag for the top.  The organizers will sag a bag to the top for you.  I always pack a pair of shorts, shirt, hat, bottle, and shoes.  You are at the top for over an hour eating, hanging out, and walking around.  Make sure the bag is something that you can descend with after.  You'll also be able to get some free items at the top.  We lined up in our Waves with 15 minutes to hang out and wait.  I lined up next to my teammate Alexander Komlik.  Kudos to Alexander for showing up to this race.  He was in a bad accident earlier this Summer on the bike.  He has guts to come back from that and still climb this mountain in under an hour.  As always I saw Stuart from Cushman & Wakefield!  This has been a traditional good luck handshake for the past 2 year.  I was planning on trying to hold Stuart's wheel in a group for as long as I could.  I carried 1 bottle of Hammer Nutrition with me.  It was a warm day and sure enough I needed all of it.

Wave 1 is off and we are spread all over the road.  You still have to work your way around guys that sign up for Wave 1 but really aren't under an hour guys.  I always stay within the top 25 riders as we make our way around some turns before we hit South Gate.  Seems that most guys can handle their bikes pretty well in Wave 1.  I am not sure about the other waves of riders coming through that first section.  The pace was good for me this year climbing up to the pay station.  As we weave around the turns there's room between us to take the momentum of the turn while staying in a draft position.  I was also keeping an eye on my watts and trying to stay around 275 W.  That's my FTP right now.  This race is about saving as much energy as you can while not loosing time.  Each time you drink, sit up, soft pedal, and etc...that is time lost overall.  As we were climbing to the pay station the sun was extra hot today.  That was going to play a negative factor for me.  The top 15 guys started to move ahead quickly and a group started to form around me of about 15.  It was a fast pace and this was the group I wanted to stay with through Rock City and hopefully to the junction.  Stuart was also in this group and I after some words of encouragement from him I stayed close to him.  We hit the pay station single file and strung out as we raced through Rock City.  Once we started the slight downhill there were some accelerations in the front that I was ready for.  We started to climb again near Curry Point and I was sitting 6th place.  I was watching two Team Fremont guys pacing each other but not taking the inside line. No center line rule for this race.  I tried to see if I could drop the group and get them to come on the inside.  Within a 20-30 seconds they caught me.  Sometimes that works but this group was moving fast.  I stayed within the group until we hit the junction.  I set a lot of PR's on the first 6 miles :)  Time to settle in for the last 4 miles.  These are the hardest and test you the most!  It was hot, I was thirsty, and fighting the resistance of my brain telling me to stop.  The only way out of it for me is to keep finding wheels to draft and push on.  I found a small group of 3 that came along side of me, and that's who I stayed with through Devil's Elbow.  Once we hit the elbow I was rejuvinated perhaps because I knew it was almost over!   I didn't set any PR's from the Junction to the Summit.  I made it up The Wall without falling over and finished my 4th Diablo Challenge with a personal record time of 56:16!  Stoked out of my mind that I can still ride my bike the way I do while improving each season.  My best bud Hanns Detelfsen of CA Technologies won the DIABLO CHALLENGE and set a PR of 00:46:22!

It's been a great year for me, and my family!  My wife has taken up running and now she's racing it too.  She does her first half marathon at the Nike Women's SF, in a few weeks.  Kudos out to her for her accomplishments, and thank you for all the support you give me my love!

Well my off-season is officially here.  I'll be competing in San Jose Bike Club's Winter Series and also the Low Key Hill Climbs.  All are welcome!  SJBC Race Team is also recruiting right now for the 2015 season.

Thanks for reading!
Thanks to Race Rim Wheels!
Thanks to Hammer Nutrition!
Thanks to Voler!
Thanks to Vittoria Tires!
Thanks to SJBC Race Team!

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Fremont Peak Hill Climb 2nd Place!

Zachary Hilton
San Juan Bautista, CA 
Place: 2
Field:  14
Teammates: Jeff Rogers, Giles Douglas, Manny Managbanag, Andy Crews 
Weather:  68 degrees avg. sunny and getting warmer on top of climb
Start Time:  10:20 am
Total Time: 00:45:09
Power: 238 W avg, 737 W max, 255 W NP  
Average Speed: 12.9 MPH, Top Speed 36.7 MPH
Average HR: 182 Max HR: 193
Elevation Ascent: 2,461 ft

Fremont Peak Hill Climb is a time for me to see how my training is coming along for the last race of the season....Mt Diablo Challenge!   I'm riding my 2009 Specialized Tarmac with the new Ultegra 6800 11 speed group set.  I ride a 53/39 11/28 for most races.  I am also racing with my Race Rim 32 Carbon Tubulars.  My goals were to get a podium again in this race, improve my time on the climb,  get a sub 45 minutes for a free beer, and always help out my teammates.   I arrived early and warmed up on the trainer for around 45 minutes, and then got on the road for 15 minutes.   My time last year was 48:39   It's one of my favorite courses!

We started at the line with 14 racers and 5 of those were my SJBC riders.  We were combined with the 55 1,2,3's (6) , and the 45+4's (7).  I carried 1 bottle of Hammer Nutrition.  I'm glad I did that.  It was hot up top, and I needed it.  The weight wasn't a factor because I was drinking it the whole way up.  We stayed back from getting up front at the start line so the 55 1,2,3's would lead us out.  It was funny because no one wanted to be up front...we held our ground and most of the 55's and 45's came up. :)  Carl Nielson from CA Tech and Giles Douglas SJBC took turns up front leading us SINGLE FILE from mile 0-3.5!!  Amazing pace was set from the start.  Each other year the pace was slow and usually 2x2 pace line.  I positioned myself 6th back.  I had a great draft off of a Pen Velo guy that was bigger than me.  At mile 3.5 Giles peeled off the front and I gave him a big kudos!  Thanks again Giles and Carl for setting that pace.  At mile 5.5 I backed off a bit and started to settle into a good cadence.  I knew that the biggest climbing was coming up on mile 6-8.  Around 8 guys went ahead.  I could see Jeff Rogers SJBC and one other up ahead as we started mile 6.  The others I couldn't see anymore.  Mile 6-8 are the toughest, but the only place I beleive you can really pass someone and make it stick.  I came around Jeff Rogers around mile 7, my friend and fellow fireman Robb Herrick Team Revolutions after that.  Right in front of Robb was Phil Tercero.  He's a strong MTB rider, and took up road cycling recently.   Phil and I stayed together till the end, constantly trying to drop each other. We caught the rider that was in 2nd place right before mile 8. That's a great attack spot for someone that doesn't know the course.  It looks like you keep having to climb, but it actually levels out at mile 8 and then the rollers come for 1 mile.  Now Phil and I are racing for 2nd and 3rd.  James Rainbow of Pen Velo was a minute up the road and was out of sight.   Attack after counter attack with Phil was exhausting, but I knew that I had to stay with him. I wasn't giving that up.  I was waiting for the right moment to attack and leave him behind.  Before the 1K to go it flattens out and Phil knew this also.  I led us into it and sprinted ahead.  You can't look back on this section.  It's fast, quick turns, and a hillside on the right!  I was feeling strong and in full time trial mode.  At 500 meters Phil came up on my right side and I grabbed onto his back wheel.  He would beat me in a straight sprint for sure, but I was hoping he wasn't familiar with the course.   At 200 meters to go I think he moved to the right just a bit on a left hand turn and I sprinted on the inside line, gave it my all, and it finally stuck!!  YES YES YES  2nd place by one second and a 3:30 personal record!  I also finished 4th overall in the combined fields! That was the best 2 mile battle I've had all year with someone.  Phil is a cool guy and got to meet him after.   He also shops at my local bike shop Concept Cyclery.

My next race is SJBC Vuelta Stage Race on September 28th.  It's a non USAC race that brings together our club and team for the end of the season.  It's also a chance for us to get new members and our race team application will be opening up then.  All are welcome.

Thanks for reading!
Thanks to Race Rim Wheels!
Thanks to Hammer Nutrition!
Thanks to Voler!
Thanks to SJBC Race Team!

Trader Joe's Pizza Dough and Fresh Veggies From The Garden

Justin Poulson captured this amazing view on descent from Fremont Peak State Park