Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What’s 2 miles.....

This last weekend Eileen, TK and I signed up for and rode the Cougar Mountain Bike Climb 4 Cancer. It was a free Time Trial style race up 2 miles of 7.2% grade out in Issaquah with donations going to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

It was pouring down when we got there, not just raining, but coming down hard. Having a wet suit on wouldn’t have been out of the question.

I arrived with AK and Eileen expecting a hour wait or more, but when we went to check in we were told ‘since it’s raining we want to get people out and up as soon as possible. Your Number 8 and 9’.


So instead of the hour or so we were thinking, we had about 25 minutes. 25 minutes to get our bikes warm up and find some place to whiz. Always a plus.

The good news was it didn’t give us enough time to start freaking out about what we were about to put our bodies through. TK showed up right after and AK, Lil’ K and Shell headed off to the top in the car to cheer us on the last bit.

I was first and told Eileen,’ if you pass me I’m grabbing your seat and you’re going to have to pull me up.’

I started out fast and figured I’d cool it down and get my legs under me and find a good rhythm to move along with. However, after the first two minutes there was really no time to play catch up. The road kept climbing one turn after another. I spotted the rider that went before me and caught him a bit before the hardest turn, about 3/4 of a mile in. I past him, then two other people before the half.

Team support.

There’s something odd about a group of people supporting a person that’s destroying themselves. I heard a car coming up behind me and heard AK yelling out the window. My first thought was ‘ Tell Shell to run me over ‘, I think a second before I heard them I was starting to lose focus and concentrate too much on the pain, almost panicking I guess. Hearing them yelling as they drove by brought back the main things I always focus on during stressful periods: Pace, Form, Breathing

Pace: Is this pace sustainable? Yes/No - Stay or find it.
Form: Is eve
rything from legs to head functioning and set for the right motion?
Breathing: Steady, control the rhythm, I control cadence.

I look to these three things constantly in a race and hard training workouts. Having asthma, I feel that this
helps me keep away from the attacks I use to get when I would just go full out on everything, usually with the worst results.

As my team car went by I got pasted by this guy with Snooze Junction stickers on his bike, I recognized him from meeting him a few months before. My thought was ‘GREAT, now everyone’s going to start passing me now!’ I tried to match his pace, but within about 20 seconds of staying on him I knew I’d never make the top if I continued.

So I raised my pace a bit and braced for the rest to start passing. I could see that up ahead was a good size downhill, about 100 yds or so, then a small flat piece that lead to the final climb. A real nasty little sharp hill, I figured I’d throw 100% on the downhill, coast the flat, then let the momentum eat off the first 1/3 of the hill before I had to do any real work.

End the end it felt like that worked, about half way up I lost all steam in my legs and was just going on lunging back and forth on the pedals. I could hear Team Cannoli yelling and screaming and I knew the end was close and was very thankful that it was. The guy that pasted me ended up coming in 4th, wow, and I never got pasted by anyone else.

This pic of me and Luke was less than five feet after the finish line.

Eileen, after she finished actually even talked to me, I think one of the first things she said was," How bout something flat next time Bill!"

TK had a good strong finish, with about four riders at the bottom of the last hill arou
nd him he muscled it pass three of them before hitting the finish.

The race of truth is what time trials are called and I guess that goes double for uphill races, there's nowhere to hide or pause. I enjoy pushing and pushing and pushing and I don't lose sight of the fact that I do actually enjoy swimming, biking and running. Separate or all together in one day.

Thanks to Eileen and TK for joining and of course to AK, Shell and Lil'K for cheering in the pouring rain.

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