GMR Challenge TT
June 9, 2018 – Glendora, CA
Masters 35+ – 1st – 37:30
297 watts – 13.6 MPH
Glendora Mountain Ride is one of the most iconic climbs in SoCal. It’s not the hardest…averaging about 5% for a little over 8 miles with 2200 ft of climbing…but is one of the most beautiful and heavily utilized. I often ride up GMR to Glendora Ridge Road (GRR) towards Baldy Village. It’s not only fun to climb, but fun to descend. Plus, the traffic is mostly bikes and motorcycles. OK, enough about the climb, let’s get on to the race.
I have done the GMR TT a couple of times before. I had my best effort last year, when I won Masters 35+. My goal this year was to win again and break 40 min. I was a little nervous, since I didn’t know what kind of power I could put out for that amount of time. I was a little shocked to get to the start area only to find it empty. At first, I wondered if the race had been cancelled, but decided to go further up the road to investigate. Sure enough, they had moved the start to near where the San Dimas Stage Race TT begins. This through my race strategy off a little. The turnout this year was amazing with a lot of juniors. I knew I would have plenty of people to pass, as well as some possibly passing me.
I started out of the gate with high power to take advantage of time gains on the relative flat first half mile. Once I hit the switch backs, I just entered into my climbing pace zone. I’ve done this climb several times before, so I knew where the steeper pitches were and where I could open more in the big ring. Looking down at my Garmin, I was averaging about 300 watts, which is exactly where I wanted to be. I mostly passed people, but did get passed by a rider in one of the older categories. I was keeping my 30 second man right in front of me and tried closing the gap. This really helped me once we crossed over to the other side of the mountain. Here we got some shade, but also had a slight headwind.
At this point, I was starting to hurt more and could see my my HR climbing. There is a slight downhill right before the finish, which gave me a quick break before hammering the last mile to the finish. Gosh, did it hurt and my HR was in the 180s. The TT goes past the Caltrans shack where many rides stop to regroup. I knew I had finished strong, but didn’t know what my place was going to be. One of my Simple Green teammates had also raced and bettered my time by nearly 4 min. We cooled down together and enjoyed the great weather.
After uploading my ride data, I saw I had PRed on Strava. Plus, I had averaged 297 watts. I wasn’t going to complain about my race no matter how I placed. Sure enough, I ended up winning Masters 35+ again. I don’t know if there was anything else I could have done to go faster, except to get some more climbing in. While I was kind of shocked that I averaged 13.6 MPH on the climb, Phil Gaimon, the KOM holder, averaged over 17 MPH! Wow, the pros really are on the next level!
Overall, this is one of my favorite climbs, and I’m very happy the Lightning Velo continues to put on this race!