Interestingly enough my last race was the Mount Diablo Time Trial. Three months later and I’m heading up the mountain again, only this time to the top.
For years I have dreamed about completing the Mount Diablo Challenge. I’ve ridden up to the top plenty of times but there is something about the added adrenaline of racing to the top of your back yard playground. Thanks to Karen, my dad and I had VIP registration, meaning we got to register at the start line. Diablo road was peaceful and we made our way through the windy road to the State Park.
Start time was 8:45. Sharp. I started in wave 2, USAC Men 4-5 and Women 1-4. The field was a good size and we weaved our way to the start of our elevation. The climbing starts abruptly. Exposure to the sun and wind, only 10 miles left to go. It took awhile to get in my groove.
The climb is tough. From South Gate there is no gradual incline, it is a straight average 6% grade all the way up to Kiosk. Once I muscled my way to Kiosk I finally felt the groove, I snuck in behind some riders as we slowly worked our way to the rest of the climb after a nice break through Rock City. Past Junction the shade is non-existent. The heat rises and wind is more violent. Only 5 more miles. 5 more miles. Average 7% grade. No breaks. Head down, power on.
I looked down at my Garmin, I was going to be sub 1:20, which is the women’s “under hour” challenge. In fact, I was about to shatter my goal of 1:15 by 5 minutes…..11 minutes faster than my personal best.
15% grade. The wall. So basically you climb 10 miles only to be faced with the last .1 miles at an average of a 15% grade….and yes the finish line is at the very top of that. I promise the views are well worth it.
I’m still not 100% sure what place I got. I was 8th out of all USAC females. 4th in my age group for all females. And possibly 2nd USAC Cat 3. Regardless the real win was proving myself and beating my personal best and getting my dream T-Shirt. 1 hour 11 minutes.