Bohlman LKHC, a Must Do Climbfest

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This week’s LKHC was epic.  This is one of the most popular, and arguably most painful hill in the area (only Welch Creek may top it).  As a result, there were s lot of late RSVP and check in which made it extra difficult for the volunteers.  My hats go off to the volunteers … they are the ones who make these LKHC so successful.

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The start was at the Saratoga Elementary school on Oak, with less than a mile lead up to the climb.  It’s an excellent staging area, with a Starbucks down the street, and a few other cafes in downtown Saratoga.

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My friend Bogdan came on the ride with not over, not two, but at least 5 cameras, with one of them being a DSLR.  And yes, he did finish ahead of me.  In fact, 10 minutes ahead of me.  What a beast!

We took off right at 10:10 as scheduled, and positioned myself near the back, as that was where I was expecting to finish. Right away, I saw a bunch of people race in front of me, but I knew what is on this hill … pain! There were a number of riders who I knew I could stay with, and I maintain my pace with them.

We turn on Norton, which then goes on Kittridge, then Quickert, then On Orbit. This is an alternative to taking Bohlman straight on. I wonder which is tougher?

When it turns into Quickert, that’s where the climbs get tough, into the 17% range. Then onto On Orbit, which kicks it up even tougher. I saw a section of 25% on Strava. I saw a few poor souls stopped, by I had to avoid stopping at all costs, and keep going, even if it did mean sustaining 183 bpm heartrate. I spent a lot of time in zone 5.

Photo courtesy Tom Everman

Photo courtesy Tom Everman

I heard encouragement from Dan at the top of On Orbit, and that drove me to push even harder, and grunt even louder from my gut. I passed about 5 guys at this point, and I never looked back, and wasn’t passed at that point.

Whew, the hard part was done, but after a short descent, it’s a left turn to do yet more climbing. The ringing of cowbells was my sign for the left turn and off I go.

Photo courtesy Bill Bushnell

Photo courtesy Bill Bushnell

The rest of the climb wasn’t bad, but it’s all that climbing that was in my legs to this point which made it challenging. There were still a few 12% grades, but nothing like what we did with On Orbit.

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I got to the top, and yelled my number out, but not knowing if it was recorded. Some people were on the climb that didn’t report a number, so who knows what the results were. I’ll have to wait later today for official results, but at least Strava says I got a time of 45:16, which was 45 seconds slower than my previous LKHC. I’m just happy I finished this.

wpid-20131019_111117.jpgI’m really anxious to see the suffer photos from this ride. After the climb, a bunch of us were comparing this to the toughest climbs in the Bay Area. Welch Creek seems to be tougher, with Bohlman being punchy-er, if that makes sense. Funny, I knew exactly what they mean.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have many pictures. I thought I had my GoPro set for time lapse, but I guess it wasn’t on. I was hoping to capture the suffering on On Orbit, but nothing. Damn.

Strava: http://app.strava.com/activities/90067341

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