Since the first day of training camp, there has been talk throughout the Marc Pro – Strava team of tackling the famous Old La Honda climb. With Old La Honda being one of Nor Cal’s most famous benchmark climbs, and what I would consider Strava’s most important segment, we felt that someone on the Marc Pro – Strava team should own the KOM.
Eric Heiden holds the OLH record, with 14:10, but fortunately for us, Strava wasn’t around at the time… The Strava record was held for a long time by Chris Phipps (Thirsty Bear-IronData.com) at 15:31. We figured Jesse would be able to steal the KOM, we just weren’t sure by how much. After talking with Chris after Wente, we found out he had done with climb with his Zipp tubulars in full race gear.
The plan was do tackle the climb with race wheels, but unfortunately Jesse flatted just a mile after leaving the house… Fortunately we had some fairly light clinchers to use and headed back out. We showed up at the bottom of the climb, stashed our bottles, vests and spare tubes, and took off up the climb. Before I could even get on Jesse’s wheel, he dropped me. I guess I was going to pace myself.
Fast-forward 8 minutes…
Just as I was about to give up, I remembered what Jesse told me on the ride over. “I don’t think the physiological differences are that big sometimes. I just really know how to suffer and put myself in pain. Sometimes I pass other guys and they just don’t look like their hurting that much.” I figured I was hurting probably just as much as Jesse at the time, and he wasn’t going to ease up, so neither was I.
Fast-forward another 7 minutes…
I reached the top, absolutely thrilled with the time I had just acheived: 15:48. I never in my life thought I would get under the 16-minute mark. What had me even more stoked was that Jesse was WAY out of sight, so he for sure beat Phipp’s time. Jesse told me he was right around 15:00. I wasn’t really surpised; afterall, this is Jesse Miller-Smith.
Coincidentally, I had ridden the climb exactly one year before, besting my previous ride by 1 minute 16 seconds.