“Houshang is dedicated, loyal, loves his work and is the best technical coach out there. He is up to date with the absolute cutting edge of sport science.”
- Erinne Willock

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Hillier and Smitheman Tackle Green Mountain

September 14, 2010

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Chris Hillier



Two Pacific Cycling Centre athletes, Chris Hillier and Spencer Smitheman, competed in the 5th Annual Green Mountain Stage Race over the Labour Day Weekend in Vermont. Competitive cyclists from all over the United States and Canada competed in this four day event that included some difficult climbs in the Green Mountains and some fast, technical riding through Burlington.

Chris Hiller sent the PCC this report

As a rider with family ties in New England, Green Mountain Stage Race (GMSR for short) is a race that I always try to do well at, especially because it is a larger race that tends to attract fairly deep fields. For this year’s iteration we had such notables as Ted King, David Veilleux, Tim Johnson, and Will Routley all in attendance. With such a strong field, racing was fast and hectic from the start, with Ted King winning the opening TT by a large margin. Considering the course and the field, I was pleased with my TT effort, which left me roughly 1:30 back. With each placing separated by only a second, though, I was still well within contention for the top-20, which was my goal for this year.

The circuit race the following day was fast right from the gun (well, the end of the neutral start) with many attacks. Long-time GMSR veteran Josh Dillon was even rumoured to have said that it was the hardest he had ever had to go, referring to the fairly long climb and KOM on the course, where every single lap there were repeated attacks from the likes of Tim Johnson and David Veilleux. All I know is that it was definitely a hard day, but in the end I knew that there was no way I had the legs to follow the select group that ended up finishing a a little more than a minute ahead at the finish, following an attack on the KOM of the last lap. All that was left was to try and recover enough to feel good the following day on the Queen Stage over both Middlebury and Appalachian Gaps.

The road race started early in the morning, and following about 15 minutes of coasting downhill for the neutral start, we hit a rather steep climb. Naturally, the throttle was immediately twisted and I found myself wondering how anyone could even feel their knees yet, let alone go so hard already (it was rather cold, and we had barely had the chance to turn the pedals over). I later found that all the other fields took this initial climb rather conservatively, which certainly incited some pangs of jealousy. Fast forward another hour or so, and we hit the bottom of the first gap climb, Middlebury Gap. At this point, we had a fairly large group up the road of 25 or so, but no GC contenders.

On Middlebury gap Ted King and about 10 others bridged to that lead group, while I was in a group of 10 or so that summited roughly 40 seconds behind, and found ourselves with a long chase ahead to get back in contention. Thankfully, some people initially dropped on the climb, were able to catch up during the very long 100km/hour+ descent, which meant we had a group of 30 or so that pinned it single file for an hour or so to catch the lead group. Shortly afterwards, we hit the bottom of App Gap, at which point my legs were done. With a vast majority of the day spent licking my stem and staring at the rear hub in front of me, I was thankful to find a solid group of guys to finish the stage with, and ended up finishing eight minutes down, and 37th on GC.

Enter the crit. Anyone who has raced GMSR knows that the hardest stage is not the long road race or the furious circuit race, it is the downtown Burlington, VT criterium. Our race was no exception, with our opening (partly neutral) lap being the fastest lap from the entire day of racing across all fields. After three hard days of racing and some pretty bad allergy issues, I was far from feeling good, and found myself down and out way faster than I wanted to be. With that said, it was still an excellent weekend of racing with a very strong field and some excellent courses. The new App Gap course is pretty spectacular, especially with the fast descent off of Middlebury Gap. As always, my coach Houshang Amiri also helped me find good form for a race that I love. Without his help and expertise, it would have certainly been a much harder weekend.


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