Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Paris to Ancaster - Part III

45k - I could feel that something was wrong.  I was beginning to cramp in my thighs and occasionally in my calves.  I thought I had prepared well, nutritionally speaking but alas there it was.  I was typically fine unless I was driving up a hill, that exertion seemed to bring on the cramping more than anything.  It was the first time I realized that mentally I was strong, my lungs were strong and I was not overwhelmed with the discouragement of the mud (by now I had probably carried my bike 3 to 4 kilometers) BUT that my body could actually overrule all of that and simply shut down.  I pressed on as best I could but my pace was slowing.

49 or 50k - My legs are going to physically cease turning the pedals if I don't find some energy for them.  I remembered that I packed a granola bar on a lark.  It probably saved the entire day for me as I could feel some energy come back about a km after I ate it.

If the race ended here I would have been golden.

54k - Cheering spectators are beginning to appear in clumps.  Must be close to the end.  Please let it be close to the end.  Some guy with a British accent yells out to us "Keep pushing.  Only 3.6 km to go."  He seemed so precise, and raised my hopes but he was off by a few km's.  That really messed with my head!

58k - There are easily as many people walking their bikes now as there are riding them.  I was fifty-fifty.  Even the smallest climbs seemed huge to my aching legs.  Unfortunately (but I loved it!) the pitch to the finish is very steep.  Seems like it'll never end.  I have long since given up any consideration of my overall time.  I resolved long ago that a victory for me is to finish.

59.5k - I'm walking my bike up the climb and a spectator yells "You're almost there!  Throw that leg over the bar!"  It occurs to me that yes, he is right, I don't want to finish this race walking.  So I get on the saddle and somehow push through the last of the hill, passing one last person as I do so, to finish.

All I can think of now is, "Where can I get some food?"

UNEXPECTED category:

  • After carrying my bike as much as I did I can honestly say that for the first time in my life I had carbon-frame envy!
  • I saw a lot of broken derailleurs but mine was never one of them.
  • I never did puncture, something I was certain would happen.  I do wonder if I had punctured if it would have broken me mentally though.
  • Unicyclists are insane.
  • Tandems are insane.
  • Fixies are insane.
  • All the arrogance I observed before the race melted away on the course.  We were suddenly all friends, joking with one another as we raced.  It was awesome camaraderie. 
  • I lost at least 10 minutes waiting for the police to move us through busy highway intersections.  This was the great equalizer.  People that I had passed minutes before were caught up to me again.
  • Even one volunteer or spectator at the side cheering you on is a really big deal.
  • My gears shifted arbitrarily throughout the race because of the mud caked on everywhere.  
  • You can't tell a book by it's cover.  People wearing Nike running shoes and khakis on a 40 pound Sears special were beating me.  Whereas I was passing some who looked like they were outfitted for the Tour.  Go figure.
  • You loose all pretense on a race like this.  At some point I was just competing with myself to finish.
Happy but exhausted.  A lot of mixed emotions at the finish.

This is after I removed about 2 fistfull's of mud already.

My commuting bike is still wondering what just happened!

This is the first wave.  I was in the third wave.  By the time I crossed this same spot 1000 riders had come before me.

In the end I finished something like 786th out of the total number of riders.  Including all the teams and such I heard that there were over 2000 racing, so I guess I did ok.  They had trouble with the timing chips and I think are still trying to fiddle with it, but as of right now it seems the 60k took me 3 hours and 40 minutes.  That's 40 minutes shy of a goal that I thought was very attainable.  Oh so humbling.

I would do this again in a heartbeat though.  To wit, I am searching for other races on this years calendar.

Motivation achieved. 

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations! and great story. It is good to see the inspiration, motivation, and anticipation of future events. I guess the Wilson racing fire has been sparked.