Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Uphill Both Ways

You think I am kidding. I cried. I did not stop but I did cry. You see that little saddle spike at about 65 miles? There, I got religion and my throat ached and I cried. I climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed to mountain prairies and icy lakes, got passed by riders older, uglier, fatter then me, was profoundly equalized. I depleted every bit of glycogen in my muscles and do believe that I cannibalized my own self to make it through, physically and psychically.
You see, I have ridden centuries (bicycle rides >100 miles) before...117 miles, 110 miles, 103 miles...am fast, kick ass, afraid of no hill... and so maybe I was a little blithe, dismissive, did not train, was not scared, should have been scared.
It was uphill both ways, it was always uphill. The first ten miles was a slow climb followed by a second ten miles of sheer cliffside ascent. Then 80 more miles at 5000 feet elevation (I live 20 feet above sea level). Every quarter mile of downhill or flat road was covered in like, a minute and a half and the corresponding climb back up was like ten minutes in a head wind. I was totally vexed by the fact that I could not remember the opening lines to my favorite song and everytime I tried to belt it out it mutated into GnR Sweet Child O' Mine and was double-vexed that there were so few sing-able stretches.
I cannot emphasize this enough. This ride was the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. You have no idea how much you should respect me.
Actually I lied. I did stop. Once. Near the end of the course there was an nine mile descent that proved to be the most painful part of the ride. Ironic I know, but this was a steep grade and required a lot of muscular discipline that I no longer had. I actually had to stop because my hands were tingling up to my forearms and my calves and feet were just plain numb...not tinglely even. Numb. I stopped, put my feet on the ground and did not move cause I didn't think that my legs would support me if I did. I stood there holding onto my bike covered in the salty grit of every last electrolyte in my body for like three or four minutes till I felt recovered enough to finish the descent. And the wind blowing up from the valley didn't help. I really wanted to beat my personal downhill record which is 49.9 mph coming down the Teton Pass in Wyoming, and was trying hard to tuck into it but couldn't get over 43 mph. The wind was fierce. I was no longer fierce.
And the odometer read 7534 feet of accumulative ascent by the end of the ride.


Anonymous said...

You are fierce.

asia said...



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