Photo © 2012 Sau Hsu.
Much like Olomana road race, last weekends’ Pineapple Hills road race was another case of ‘turn up, pin on a number, use it as a training ride and see what happens’. The race is 4 laps around a course with a little over 1100ft of climbing per lap and about 55 miles total distance.
Before the race it rained quite a bit so the warmup mostly consisted of sitting in my car while pinning on my number, then a short roll around the start / finish straight. We had a pretty good turnout for our Cat 1/2/3 race with plenty strong guys, both regulars and a few new faces, to keep things interesting; Eric Lau (Tradewinds), Ray Brust (Boca), Sean Sullivan (Pacific Velo), Kevin Kawainui (BME), a Czech guy Pavel Stuchlik (raced pro for the Marco Polo team), and others.
I found myself at the front after the start so I wound up the pace to 28-30 to get things started then we cruised down the descent. No real sign of any bullets until we hit Pineapple Hill for the first time… Speeds north of 20mph saw a few early casualties peeling off the back of the peloton… We averaged about 17mph for the whole climb.
Sean Sullivan and I got a small gap going on lap 2 and started doing some rotations but staying away on the descent was asking a bit much and needless to say, we got reeled in before the bottom.
On the third time up Pineapple it was more of the same fast climbing being dished out… We lost Lang and Stuchlik for a while but due to our lead group easing up on the flat section at the top, they rejoined is going through the start / finish going into the final lap.
The final climb up Pineapple saw plenty accelerations from Eric Lau which I matched, and about half way up the climb we broke the elastic and got a gap on the others. I thought we had 5 laps, but at the top of the climb confirmed that we only had 4! Has I realized it was only 4 laps I’d have raced a bit different, but now it was just going to come down to a 2-man gallop for the line. Eric and I did some cat and mouse over the final 1km a little like Vino and Uran in the Olympic RR with the chasers within sight. With 200m to go, Eric ramped up the pace, I went with him then came around before the line to take the win. Not a bad training ride!
On a final note, Dan Miller and everyone from Quick Release / BikeFactory need a shout out / kudos / high-5′s / shaka’s for putting on a well run event with trophies and prizes including cold hard CASH! A perfect example of how a race should be!