The Distance: 21.6 KM. My Time: 01:22.54 Average speed: 15.6%
21.60km | 13.42mi
680m | 2,231ft
1,980m | 6,496ft
Average Gradient: 7.5%
1,300m | 4,265ft
I expected to see a lot more foreigners at this race as it’s very popular. I guess it meets its 2500 rider quota in half a day when registering and maybe many of them couldn’t get in? I’ve been to a dozen races in the last year and usually there are some very strong foreign cyclists at the events.
This is a short steep hill climb to the top of Utsukushigahara. It’s a very tough race with the first 4 km at a grade of over 18% (20% depending who you talk to)! The riders leaving in groups at 1 minute intervals. The pro riders left first. It decided to rain hard the whole day making it even harder to climb. Standing was tough as the back wheel slipped quite easily. When you reached the top it was foggy with blasting high winds and extremely cold. Fortunately the event it was well organized and we were able to send up a bag full of descending colder weather wear and what-have-you for when you finished the race.
I felt strong, passed a lot of people and never got passed once (mind you, I wasn’t racing with the pros and I was one of the later groups to leave)! I had no idea how I did over all when I was climbing but I was certain there is a lot of room for improvement. Hill climbs are races that give advantage to tiny light weight riders which I am not. As my DM friend says “no point buying lighter wheels etc when the body itself could be lighter”.
All in all a fun event and now I have a time I will aim to beat next year. Hopefully the sun will be out by then. :))