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Mt. Hamilton Race - need advice(2 posts)

Mt. Hamilton Race - need adviceFender
May 22, 2003 9:21 AM
Any advice for Mt. Hamilton RR this Sunday? Considering the 4500' of climbing in the first 20 miles, followed by another 1500' over 40 miles, should I try and get with a break during the first climb, or just hold with the group and wait until the final 10 miles to start attacking and possibly solo with a few miles to go?
Have you climbed Hamilton before?mohair_chair
May 23, 2003 12:46 PM
I've never done this race, but I do know Hamilton pretty well. Hamilton can actually be broken down into three climbs. First you climb over the foothills, then descend down to Grant Ranch. The descent isn't much, but it's a descent! Next, you climb a bit more, then get another descent. And finally, you do the rest of the climbing until the top.

If I were capable of winning this race, I would try to keep things together until I got over mountain and past the bridge on the other side. Set a high tempo to discourage attacks and drop pretenders, but really, Hamilton is not that hard of a climb. It shouldn't be that selective if you are going against good climbers.

The real ordeal comes on the backside. It's much steeper, but you'll be going down. It's also much hotter, and the pavement actually melts here on a hot day, so keep heads up for rough roads and fresh oil. After the descent is where things gets hard. You cross a bridge and start climbing again.

It's almost a desert behind Hamilton, so it's hot and dry, and there are plenty of ups and downs to wear you down. If there is heat (and if this week is any indication, there will be) it will wear everyone down. There's no water back here at all, so make sure you carry enough and hydrate well. I will bet money that the race will be won here, as the strong figure out who the weak are and leave them for dead. Do not underestimate this section--it will probably be the hardest part of the race. The 1500' of climbing that comes after is mostly right here, compressed into maybe six miles.

Eventually you break out onto a long, straight, and fairly flat section where hopefully you will have people to work with. I think this race goes all the way to Livermore, but I've never gone past the junction. I've never wanted to! Sorry, but you're on your own from there.