Hillfest Race Report

>> Monday, June 04, 2012

Hillfest is a 2-year-old event in Western WI. They had a 200K, 75K, and 25K. The only "race" is in the 200K, but Matt and I hoped to go check out the 25K and find a way to turn it into our own little "Time Trial" hard effort. And that's just what we did.

Porta-potty just after picking up my registration stuff.

A bunch of 75K riders getting ready to start.

The 75K riders were off!

Matt and I went back to my car to get set for the 25K.

Map and elevation chart for the 25K.

We were told that the course was marked at nearly every intersection, so we figured it WOULD be possible to just go out hard and turn this hilly group ride into a hilly TT ride.

Getting ready.

In the porta-potty... again.

Matt and I hit the road for a little warm-up. We also wanted to make sure we could navigate our way out of town (through the short, quick turns) to the "main roads" of the ride.

Matt on our WU after crossing a bridge under construction.

The roads were good out there except for 2 parts: the bridge crossing under construction behind Matt in that last photo, and a rough, gravely hill around mile 2-3. Matt and I climbed the hill at mile 2 on our WU, and here's Matt behind me after cresting the top:

Riding next to a corn field.

Turned around and headed back to Prescott, WI (you can see the water tower to the right).

So Matt and I decided the plan was this: take the first 2 miles easy through town, hit the base of that first real hill and go "balls to the wall" for about 12 miles, and ease up BEFORE coming down that same hill (because it would be suicide to race down that hill at full speed).

Side note: Matt and I were heading down a hill in our warm-up, and he was coasting and pulling away from me. I had to shift and pedal to keep up. Matt and I smiled at each other. He's got a better bike, but he also told me he has 70 pounds on me that "helped" him down that hill. Being the ride was mostly uphill on the way out and mostly downhill on the way back, we knew I'd lead for a bit. But then the question was how long I could hold off Matt.

We ran into Amy pre-race, and we talked about the upcoming hills. We all started out and rode a fast WU through town. It was mostly (gently) downhill, and we were usually riding 20-22 mph.

Matt at the front left.

I told the guy to the right in front of me in that photo that Matt and I were going to start a "TT effort" at the base of the first hill about a mile farther. He sounded like he was game to go with us.

We hit the first big hill at mile 2, I cleared my computer, and we were off! I shot past Matt, and shortly after, the guy we invited to TT with us shot past me. I was huffing and puffing, and that didn't end for the next 13 miles!!

It was pretty uphill for the first few miles, with some rollers in the middle. Then there were more uphill sections around mile 5 of our TT (about mile 7 of the ride). When we FINALLY got to the top of some climbs, we turned left. Aaaaaaaaaaaaand that was right into the wind. Super. This was shaping up to be a solid, hard ride!

I pulled my camera out of my jersey around the half way point to snap a quick photo when we didn't have any hills. You can BARELY see the dark speck who is the one guy in front of me:

Then we turned left about a half mile up there, and had a quick 2 miles with the wind! That felt good! Matt said he would pull to within 20-30 yards of me on a downhill, but then I'd start to pull away on the next uphill. He had a semi go past him on this next stretch of road, and he saw me getting a drink and then FLINCH pretty good when the semi scared me as it shot past. Good times. Glad you saw that, Matt.

We turned off that main road, had a downhill followed by some short nasty uphills, and then made our final turn that would lead us back to the top of the hill where we would ease up. Matt pulled up along side of me about 0.5 miles before we eased up. I "finished" with Matt about 2-3 seconds in front of me. We had a solid, hard, hilly, slightly-windy ride!

I checked my averages every 3 miles, and here's what I had for our TT effort:

- 18.8 at mile 3 (remember, it started with a nasty little climb)
- 18.5 at mile 6 (depressing - again, lots of hills)
- 19.0 at mile 9 (slightly into the wind, but less hilly!)
- 19.4 at mile 13 (spent... totally spent)

I watched my bike computer click over to exactly 13.0 miles at dang near exactly 40 minutes. Then we rode at a moderate pace back to town.

Descending that windy hill.

Changing post-ride. Oh, there's my bike shorts... AND my boxers...
I guess I was taking that photo with my winky hanging out...


Burgers, turkey burgers, veggies burgers, and chicken!

Veggies and fruit.

A big ole' burger and cookie! (That's a normal sized bun with an inch+ thick burger!)

Matt and I post-ride!

So yes, we finished a "Time Trial" effort with only a 19.4 mph average when I've posted 22-23 mph averages when I've done the moderately hilly "Tuesday Night Time Trials" in the past, but I give you the following 3 reasons for that:

1. This was much hillier! I mean, it's called "Hillfest" for the love of Pete.

2. We started our effort at the base of a solid hill, and stopped our effort before descending that big mother on the way back.

3. I'm not in the best of bike shape. And I have the hilly "Trinona" triathlon ride coming up this weekend as part of my first Oly Tri of the year. Super.

Matt summed up this ride the best. Matt's a pretty "no nonsense" kinda guy, and he's not going to pay for something if he doesn't think it's worth it. Even though this was a $49 ride, Matt and I agreed that the course, the volunteers, the food, and the post-race activities make this totally worth it. We're hoping to come back next year and try the 75K. We know Jon (our other brother-in-law) and my wife would love this ride too, so we hope to bring a crew with us!

We hit the road, and I came home to this:

Life is good. :)

p.s. Here's a slideshow of more photos in an Examiner article that I wrote. Back with photos from my wife at Buffalo Triathlon tomorrow!


Sarah 7:49 AM, June 04, 2012  

Great ride! And those are solid times! You should be SO proud!

I'm on the east side of Wisconsin. Last week I took the husband on a HILLY 16 miler----and he was not impressed. I loved EVERY second of it. Something about digging into those hills makes me happy. :)


Carolina John 10:58 AM, June 04, 2012  

Looks like there's going to be a decent corn crop this year...

Great ride! It's never fun having to avoid construction.

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