Melanie took to the hills ad represented Naked for the Guanella Pass Hill Climb in the uber competitive Women’s Pro 1/2 Category. Read her report here:
The climb up Guanella Pass outside of Georgetown is beautiful, rife with ponds, reservoirs, gushing waterfalls and scenic views every time you turn a corner — I didn’t notice any of it.
That happens in bike racing, in this case the State Hill Climb Championships at Guanella Pass. You’re so focused on turning the pedals over, breathing or catching the wheel in front of you that you don’t see anything else.
The race started out as a near disaster for me. Organizers staged the racers earlier than expected, and I did not have time to warm up. There were 8 women in the 1/2 category, and we all shivered under cloudy skies waiting for our wave to be sent off on the 11-mile climb.
As we started, a few girls sprinted off, and I fully felt the consequences of my lack of warm-up. There was no power in my legs, and the initial switchbacks, which hit 12 % grade, made my lungs burn. The entire field left me in a matter of minutes, and in my head I imagined EVERYONE from all the juniors to the tandems passing me.
I was going to be dead last.
To my relief, my legs woke up after about 10 minutes and I set to work catching up. I did slowly for the next 45 minutes, picking off all the riders who had passed me earlier.
The last couple miles were a struggle as the pitch got steeper, and being above treeline, the air was frigid and the wind was gusting. I finished 5th in my category and just in time to see other Naked Racing women in the 3 and 4 categories come trickling through the finish line.
Talk about a mountain top experience! I strongly recommend checking out this climb when not racing — the road is in great condition and the scenes are phenomenal!