Mt. Hamilton 55+ Road Race,
By Jim Langley
This was an interesting race, some good, some that could be better. The good part was that I broke away on the only real climb on the course with John Elgart, so, for about 8 miles, John and I were off the front working together. The bad part was that the 4 guys chasing us, caught us about 10 miles from the finish and it came down to another sprint. But, the good part was that I didn't lead it out this time. I waited, and waited and just when I thought I couldn't wait another second, maybe 300 yards from the line, someone else took off and I got to sprint from the back. I managed to hold off one guy, pass another and almost got one more right on the line but he got me by a tire width when we both threw our bikes. So, I got 4th. It was John Elgart, Richard Shields, Larry Wolff and me. I think I beat David Stockwell in the sprint and one other guy.
So, the good news is that I didn't come in last in the sprint like at Copperopolis, and I didn't lead it out. Also good, I think I beat David, who beat me at Copperopolis. It's also good news that I almost, almost, almost took 3rd... 1cm and it would have gone the other way. So, that's all cool. It's annoying though being strong enough to ride away on the climb but not being able to stay away. When John and I were trading pulls off the front I made the mistake of thinking I might actually get second place and that was a dumb thing to think on that course with such a long downhill finish into a headwind.
Anyway, I got a neat T shirt and $10 and a gift certificate to some restaurant over the hill (John got $160!). And, the course was beautiful. The driving was brutal, though. I left my house at 4a.m. and the race only lasted from 8:20 to about 11:00 - with the podium, et. - with the rest of the time spent driving back and forth on Mines Rd. I got home at 3:30!
But, overall, it was a pretty cool experience. I'm in awe at what Mark and Scott did, though in racing the full course. Our course was all on the backside of Hamilton. We completely avoided the climb up Hamilton and only raced 38 miles with only a 3-mile climb. Their race was epic starting with the tough ascent of Ham and then having to make it all the way through the valley.