Monday, June 16, 2008

The Challenge

29,035 vertical feet over 206 miles in two days.
Purportedly the hardest 2 day U.S.C.F. race in existence. And most of the climbing is between 5,000 and 10,000 feet above sea level.

Despite being in pretty good shape, albeit carrying too many pounds, I struggled to finish last year. Actually raced the first day, marking the other clydes, and thought I won the stage in my division (turns out there was an issue with the timing, and my originally posted stage win got reversed, with apparently another rider up the road I didn't account for.)

Unfortunately I paid for my first day effort the second day. I had nothing on day 2, and knew I just had to ride in survival mode if I was going to finish. So when the winner in my division rode by me on the second climb of the second day, i could do nothing but watch him go.

I eventually finished, after walking a 17 percent section of the last climb.

So we start this year with the proposition that my gravity challenged, sea level living, self is marginally capable of finishing this race by myself, then add in the complexity of doing it on the tandem.

My wife, Deb, is a recreational rider. She's done some hard rides, most notably 5 years ago on a trip to the French Alps, during the Tour de France, which included cimbs like L'Alpe du Huez. But she hasn't actually trained, or done any serious riding to speak of since that trip 5 years ago.

As we started this plan, we were definitely much slower together on the tandem, than I am by myself, our long ride together on the tandem was 70 miles, Deb had never done a century, we rode a 1994 Burley Duet weighing 50lbs, and we had just commited to doing 2 100 mile races on consecutive days with 29,000 feet of climbing. So we had a few obstacles ot overcome, and limiters to work through.

No comments: