What a day.
Earlier in the week I was ready to write this day off. As the week progressed I started feeling better. By Saturday, I had decided that I was going to at least take a shot at it. And a message from a friend on one of my ride logs “You better not punk out!” was instrumental in my decision to go for it.
I had no expectations going into this thing. I really believed I would not finish. The first four miles are the wort of it, and I thought that that was where I would fail. I had no misgivings whatsoever. They asked us to line up at the start according to ability. Fastest in front, slowest in back. I promptly took my position at the back of the pack. Only three other riders were behind me.
At the drop of the flag, the guys in front took off like bats out of hell. A new course record was even set. 59 minutes and change by two separate riders. A third rider came in at 1:01 to also beat the previous record of 1:03.
At 6 miles in, over half of the elevation gain is made. I was still feeling pretty decent at that point, but not totally convinced I would make it. Legs were sore. I was experiencing some knee pain from all the pedaling. I stopped twice for just a couple minutes up to this point catch my breath and let my heart rate come down.
By the ten mile point, I was still feeling good, and it was at this point I knew I could finish. Roughly 3k of the 3800 feet had passed. The riding was getting a bit easier as the mountain leveled off.
Then-at the 11 mile point was a lovely 9% grade. That was brutal. And again at about 13 miles. More brutality, but only 8% this time.
The last half mile was pretty flat. At the 15th mile, I was at 2h 20min. Not only was I going to finish, but I was going to beat the 3 hour cutoff. I tried to charge, out of the saddle, for the last 200 meters, but my legs were so rubbery I almost crashed. I crossed the line with a riding time of 2:27:00 by my Garmin computer. This didn’t account for the few times I had to stop. I expect my official time will come in around the 2:40 mark. Either way, I DID beat the cutoff. I officially finished.
I was a little concerned that I would get to the top, but not have the strength or the will to ride back down. They had a SAG vehicle that was transporting “top bags” up for riders, but I did not pack one, as I did not want to ride down with a pack or bag, and I didn’t want to burden anyone.
As I posted previously, I had set a goal of making an attempt to ride 41 miles on the day to match my rider number of 41. On the way back down, at about the seven mile mark is a junction. There two ways up to this point. I chose the other way down from the way we came up. This would deposit me about three miles from my truck, forcing me to ride extra miles. When I got to my truck, I needed to keep going till I hit the 5 mile mark to make 41 miles. I got to my truck, and kept going without giving it a second thought. At this point, I started thinking that maybe I could make it a 50 mile day, but when I got to the point to turn around to give 41, the decision was another no brainer. FK THAT!! I want OFF!. THIS! BIKE!
In the end, I accumulated 42.42 miles for the day and over 4000 feet of climbing. I had an average heart rate of 87% of max and a max heart rate of 101%. And yes, that 101 came at the end as I tried to charge the finish.
I accomplished several goals.
1. Finish-as in make it to the top.
2. Be “not last”.
3. Finish officially (beat the three hour cutoff)
4. Pass at least one girl
5. Beat the 60+ age group
I am beat. But I am feeling pretty damn good about the day overall.
Not sure why some of the numbers are different between the tow. The endo data was imported from my Garmin. The descent and the ten miler rides are also there if you are interested.