Monday, May 3, 2010

The Mountain Won!

Wintergreen Hill Climb, yeah I'll do it this year. Here is my history with this mountain:

2006: I decided to do this race. It was my team's first year as a team and we were just getting back into racing. I had never done this race before and never even seen the mountain before. I showed up with a 39/25 as my smallest gear. I weighed 195lbs. It was a painful ride and I completed it in 49:48.

2007: I was going to conquer this hill. I was lighter at 189 lbs. I was using compact cranks so had a gear of 34/25. Plus I was borrowing a set of super light hill climbing wheels. I was going to fly up this mountain. It didn't happen. I had a time of 51:49. I think I took it too easy on the lesser slopes and just spun too much with my easier gears.

2008 and 2009: I skipped this race.

2010: Here we are at this last weekend. I am lighter at 185lbs, stronger and more fit than I have ever been. I also more confident in my abilities. I chose to go with my first year gearing of a 39/25 and would power of the mountain. It was a hot day. My warm up was pretty good:


We drove up the night before and stayed close by.  I got to the race early and was able to take my time.  Because of the heat I was careful not to over do my warm up.  I got about 40 minutes on the trainer with a couple of short intervals and then easy spinning.  I was also set up in a nice shaded area.  Then I finished up the warm up on the road to ensure everything on my bike worked well.

Then I started.

Everything seemed good.  Of course I felt good on the lower slopes, who doesn't.  As soon as I hit the area of the 15% grade near the guard shack my legs began to leave me.  I couldn't get them to turn around.  I could not push that 39/25.  I'm not too sure I could have pushed any gear at that point.  I was all over the road just trying to keep my bike upright.  I had to stop and put a foot down three times.  I truly, in all my racing years have never felt this bad.

So I quit.  First DNF of the year.  First ever in a time trial.  At one of the points my wife was stopped for pictures, I got in the car.  Very shameful and embarrassing.  Everyone has a bad day, mine came on this day.

I'm not claiming to have been able to contend for any positions.  I can throw excuses out like I'm a big guy, I live in a flat area, I'm a wuss.  What ever it is the truth is I don't prepare for hilly races because we race in flat crits mainly.  The mountain beat me.  I am not giving up.  What doesn't kill only makes us stronger.  I will revisit that mountain again and it will not repeat.

My other VBW teammates who showed up did well.  Kevin Horvath climbed in 44:59 and John Gray, first time Wintergreen racer climbed in 50:46.  Great job guys, sorry to disappoint you in my performance.

Here are some pictures taken by my wife of our suffering:


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