Friday, July 30, 2010
Well, all of the long hours of training and the mental preparation culminated into my target ride of the season yesterday, the Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day. 154 miles with 10,300+ feet of elevation gained - a real all-day slugfest. Rolling hills almost all day with 2 big
climbs (9 and 12 miles with 5-8% grade). It was awesome.
The greatest part of arguably what was the biggest ride of my life is what made this so special. The training up to it was fun and challenging, but in the end wasn't the most rewarding part. The company was great, but not the focal point. The conquering of the mountain passes themselves was very trying and very rewarding, but not the most memorable part of the ride. The most impressive part of the ride itself was something that I didn't expect to be even one half as grand as it was: the scenery.
Don't get me wrong, I know how gorgeous Rainier is (it's only haunted my dreams since I was 14), and I knew going into this that there was some pretty country up here in the PacNW, but after the scale of Colorado this winter I just wasn't expecting to be floored the way I was. Much of the ride was as expected, but the 50ish miles inside the park were just unbelievable. The views coupled with the route itself and the perfect (I'm serious, it couldn't have been better) weather made that stretch the most stunning ride I've been on since some of the training rides back in Summit Co., CO this spring.
The pictures do NO justice, but they're attached anyway. I'm looking forward to seeing all sorts of ridiculous sights this fall during the TYB B2B tour (www.takeyourbike.org - shameless plug), then posting photos on the TYB blog (www.officialtakeyourbike.blogspot.com - shameless plug #2).
Of all the things that I'd have thought would be fun a few years ago, much less a good idea, this wouldn't have been it. It's great how time changes things.
The approximate route is linked below, with a flyby, although the guy that made the route took some shortcuts with his mapping:
I won't go into all of the little subplot stories of the ride (you'll have to come see me in person for that sort of thing, and I invite any one of you to come hang out for a bit with me somewhere in the world), but my favorite of the day is as follows:
I was flying up the first of the two big hills at a fairly ludicrous speed (the kind that screams "I don't have any desire to be able to walk tomorrow") and passed a professionally-kitted-out woman on a very expensive triathlon bike. As I did, she exclaimed "It's still a long way to go - don't kill yourself this early!". I was focused on the climb, and just kept hammering. About a half mile ahead I stopped to take one of the attached photos, and she passed me. A minute or so later I caught her again, and she again spoke up.
"Don't go anaerobic this early in the day - you'll be in the hurt locker later. I know it's unsolicited advice, but I'm a personal trainer."
Me:"Thanks for looking out. I appreciate your input. I'm a personal trainer as well, and I agree with you. But I'm actually still below LT, so I'm okay."
Then I dropped her. All sorts of fun.
I saw her at a rest stop later in the ride and we talked for a bit - she was a really nice woman who is actually a ten time Ironman veteran, so she is definitely a stronger athlete than I am at this point. The difference in our climbs was that I was trying to kill myself on my "A" target ride of the year, and she was in the middle of a training ride. We're both doing an event together next year, so I'll look forward to seeing how badly she crushes me then...
I signed up for two triathlons last week: the Wenatchee sprint tri this August and the 2011 Coeur D'Alene Ironman. Yes, I'm an idiot. But this needs to happen. I need to prove to my body that is in fact a Formula 1 race car, and that it can do whatever I want it to because I'm 24 and I know how to train for this sort of thing. And because my Dad never ran a full IM.
(Note to my 18 year-old self: of all the things that could never, ever, in-a-million-years happen, out-triathlonning *made-up word* your Dad is one of them)