Sunday, August 23, 2009

He Just Won’t Quit

Lookout Mountain Hill Climb

Lookout Mountain is one of the best known climbs in all of Colorado. It is easily accessible from Denver and offers cyclists a challenging course from its base in Golden to the top near Buffalo Bill’s grave.

Phil has been riding Lookout Mountain for well over 20 years. Some days he takes it easy (relatively), some days he rides as hard as his legs and lungs will allow, but every ride up Lookout presents a challenge.

Phil still feels cheated out of racing at Leadville this year - particularly because he knows he is at peak fitness.

Rather than giving up, relaxing and watching baseball on TV for the next several weeks he established a new goal: he wants to set a new personal best time on Lookout Mountain.

The current “official” Lookout Mountain Hill Climb record is held by Tom Danielson, a pro with the Garmin Slipstream team (the same guy who holds the Mt Evans Hill Climb Record – Tom can go uphill seriously fast). Tom’s record, like all “official” Lookout Mountain records, is timed from “Pillar to Post.”
Tom's record is 16 minutes & 2 seconds, which works out to something like 17 miles an hour. Holy cow.

That isn’t how it works for Phil, though (and by default, it isn’t how it works for me, either.)

No, we use The George Rooney Rule. George is an old college buddy of Phil’s, and he always started the clock at the second driveway on the right just before Pinal Road.

A completely arbitrary spot that makes no sense to anyone but George.

It adds another ½ to ¾ of a mile of hard climbing to the route. However, since that is where Phil has started timing himself for over 20 years that is where we’ll hit the stopwatch for Phil’s record attempt.

Also, we don’t stop the clock at the turn-off to Buffalo Bill’s grave – again, the end point for everyone else who rides Lookout.

No, George’s Rules call for stopping the clock at another crazily arbitrary spot – the mostly dead pine tree on the left as you make the last turn at the top of the climb. I’m not making this up.

These odd start and end parameters make it really hard to do an “apples to apples” comparison with the official Lookout records.

None of that matters, though. Phil and George know the rules under which their record attempts are raced. Phil’s prior personal best is 28 minutes & 20 seconds, set on Labor Day weekend in 2007.

I have put together a training plan for us to set Phil up for a race against the clock on September 19. The focus is on building power for a short, hard effort – much different than our training for Leadville, which was all about endurance.

I think Phil will have a better chance of setting a new record if he has a few good pacers to ride with him.

Are any of you up for a really hard 25 – 27 minute ride on September 19??

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