Golden, CO - Lookout Mountain sits south of Boulder, at the northern outskirts of Golden, and is a short 30min drive from my door. The 4.5-mile climb is notorious among locals as a lunch hour ride when you are short on time, and want to get the most bang for your buck. In takes most cyclists less than 30 minutes to complete, with a 1,228 feet of elevation gain. The route begins with a gradual ascent, so those unfamiliar with the climb often start out much too fast and get smashed in the first five minutes of the race, with no juice left to finish the route.
The last time I did this race – back in 2009 – I had a respectable time of 30:06. I was hoping to better that this year. I have trained on Lookout a lot this season, so I felt good about it headed in to Friday morning. Also, I expect this to be my last race of the season, so I was anxious to finish it with a good result.
I arrived at the start line with a blood glucose of 175, which is perfect for a road race or criterium, but a bit higher than I like to be for a hill climb, and especially one so short. I chose, however, not to correct because I didn’t want to risk going too low during the race, and I still felt pretty good. I got in a 20 minute warm up, and was reay to go.
The race was somewhat predictable for a hill climb. We set a high, but not screaming tempo. One cyclist pulled about ten seconds ahead, obviously assuming that the grade would remain more or less the same. This situation persisted until the grade eased after the first set of switchbacks when a few riders, including one I was marking, attacked. I miscalculated, and didn’t really put in a lot of effort, wanting to save my energy for the seperntines up toward the top. After the second set of switchbacks, there were more riders coming off the back, but a small group was powering their way to the crest of the climb.
There are 200 meters of flat at 500 meters to go, with the final 200 kicking upward again. I tried to use that flat section to catch the group approaching the finish, but I was pretty boxed in. I tried to sprint in the last few meters, but just lacked the reserves to make anything great happen.
My finish time was 31:02, which was a bit disappointing. It was still a good time overall, but certainly slower than my last attempt at this race. My BG was 196 at the finish and trending up, so I corrected with a couple of units of insulin.