Cypress Mountain

There are two major climbs that are accessible easily from Vancouver, Cypress and Seymour. Both are well into the epic climb category that actually compares favorably with some of the 'real' climbs of the grand tours. Both are in the 12-13km in length range, Cypress averages 5% and Seymour is closer to 7%. Up until today I had not ridden either of them.

The Chicks Cycling Club hosted what is best described as a mass start time trial up Cypress today. How could I say no to that? I did my research on the course and decided that at a steady grade of 5% my cassette that was currently on the bike was going to be suitable. Extended stretches of 7-8% would have led me to switching cassettes for better climbing.

It turns out that you should not believe the Internet.

My measurements of the race showed that there were a couple of false flats totalling something like 2km over the course of the race. This means that instead of 700m of gain over 12km, it was more like 700m of gain over 10km. Uh oh. So when it was all said and done, the average grade of the real part of the climb was about 7% with smaller portions reaching 8-10%. So I totally had the wrong gearing. That said, I'm not trying to say gearing had anything to do with my slowness. That's all in the legs.

The announcements before the race made it clear that this was not a road race, despite the mass start and that it was a time trial so treat it like one. In a TT, the idea is to keep a steady effort the entire way as that's the fastest way. So we roll out and a bunch of the guys at the front were sort of looking around. Uh, guys? It's a TIME TRIAL. So I just settled into my pace and pulled the slackers for the first km or so until they actually started racing at which point I was promptly dropped. I did what I wanted to though, kept my heart rate pretty much pegged in the high 170 range for the thing, which was pretty much my goal.

All in all, I'm glad I did the race, coming down that hill afterwards was awesome. Don't think a hill climb TT is really going to help my most common race of the year though, flat industrial park crits. Ah well.