I’ve heard of a superstition that what you do on New Year’s Day sets the tone for what you’ll be doing all year. If that’s the case, what better way to start 2017 than with a bike race? San Bruno Mountain Hill Climb, a mass start race for 3.6 miles and around 1,160 feet up San Bruno Mountain, kicks off the NCNCA racing calendar each January 1st. Top contenders in a hill climb race need the right mix of watts per kilogram, aerodynamics, and raw power, so I was super happy to have teammate and accomplished time trialist, Trish Pablo with me in the 3/4/5 field.

image: Alex Chiu

image: Alex Chiu

The race started in a combined group of 17 Category 3/4/5 women and 4 Category 1/2 women. The pace was pretty high right from the whistle, and Trish and I made sure to get towards the front. We settled into 4th and 5th wheel, and kept track of who was around and in front of us. We rode with the Category 1/2 women for a while, but with only a couple of them up front in competition with each other, we soon let them have their own race (since they’d be scored separately from us and in order to preserve our own energy).

That left Trish, me, and a W3 competitor from Team Swift climbing together. Midway through the ascent there is a quick loop-de-loop descent through a parking lot and under a bridge. Racers sometimes lose time here by making the mistake of easing up for relief. Since I had pre-ridden the course and knew what lines to take to keep pace through this section, I got on the front with Trish following on my wheel. We made it through the section, but hadn’t managed to drop Team Swift just yet.

We returned to climbing, and started preparing ourselves to duke this out. But then, as the grade got steeper, we heard our competitor starting to breathe just a bit heavier than we were. This was a good sign! Trish and I continued on and she started to fade. The gap between us and Team Swift grew, and we got more and more excited--now Trish and I just had to finish this thing off!

San Bruno HC, Photo #2, by Katie Truong.JPG

We kept our effort up the last of the climb and finished 1st and 2nd! Looks like 2017 is going to be a good year.