A 15 km climb …

The Triple Crown was raced yesterday, a local fund raising road race in support of cardiology patients at BC Children’s Hospital.  This 75 km ride includes a climb up each of the 3 local mountains – Mount Seymour, Grouse and Cypress Mountains.

My son and his partner have completed the ride each of the past 3 years.  In fact, my son is competitive in the race finishing 3rd the first year and, yesterday he was gunning to win it outright.

Last year, I climbed Cypress Mountain, the last of the three, ahead of them so that I could watch the finish of this gruelling event.  I decided to do the same this year.  It was my son’s birthday and, I wanted to be there to celebrate the win with him.

Cypress Mountain is a 15 km climb with an average grade of 5.7% but the climbing is steeper than that.  The first and last 3 km are relatively flat.  Perhaps a 2-3% grade and, the switchbacks level out as well.  So, if you take this into account, the average grade of the rest of the climb is somewhat higher.

The climb is a mental test.  I rode alone this year.  That makes it harder.  There was no one to spur me on or pace myself with.  When the going got tough, I had to dig deep just to keep turning the pedals over.

The climb took me just over an hour and I averaged 12 km/h.  There were portions where I reached 15-20 km/h and others where it was a struggle to maintain 9 km/h.  I know that when I slow below 10 km/h it is steep.  There were several sections like that and the last, of course, was at the 12 km mark, the worst possible time, right at the end of the climb.

I rode the steel-frame Roberts.  It is much heavier then the carbon-frame Garneau but I wanted to see if the compact crankset made a different on a long climb like that.  It did.  I had a few lower gears and was able to maintain a higher cadence much of the time.  Next time, I will swap wheels and put the Dura-Ace carbon wheels on the Roberts.  That will reduce the weight considerably.

“How did my son do?”, you ask.  Well, he was with the lead group of three following the first 2 climbs and then got a flat.  He lost considerable time replacing the rear tube and had to settle for a very respectable 4 hour finish.  There are no support vehicles on this ride.

I don’t climb this mountain enough.  It is a favourite with many of the local cyclists.  Now that I have done it several times, I am going to climb it more regularly in the hope of doing the entire ride next year.  It is a good cause and worthy of my Cycling Bucket List.

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