Monday, September 15, 2008

Fat Dogs Can't Climb

I have two dogs at home, Lucky and Porter. Lucky is slim, young, part Golden Retriever and part something else. Porter is old, big, a little on the chunky side but not really fat. We're not really sure what he is, he's just big. When they play, Lucky runs circles around him and there's little that he can do other than watch her run away a hope to catch her when she's not paying attention. He never gives up though.
I know how he feels. That's how I race bikes. I am not really fat, I'm just big. I have a body better suited to Prize Fighting (can't do that, I hate getting punched) than cycling but that hasn't stopped me from trying for 20 years now. I do have a few pounds I could lose - what 42 year old male doesn't? As a bike racer, I can make a lot of power and if I lived somwhere flat, I'd put a big-ass gear on my bike and do pretty well. Living in the mountains and racing in the mountains presents a whole list of difficulty for me though - well for everyone, I know. To quote R.E.M - Everybody Hurts.
I love climbing but climbing hates me. It is my biggest weakness and in every race I can remember, the climbs are where I could have done better and if only.......... sigh. It's frustrating.

In the race Saturday, I did ok on the climbs but ultimately if I had climbed just a small percent better, It would have made a difference in where I placed. Short, power climbs aren't a problem, long gradual climbs aren't too bad either. It's the long (1/2 mile+) steep ones that get me. It's the thorn in my side.
With that in mind, I will be doing Benge's Revenge Saturday ( a direct conflict with Bridge to Bridge - another evil climbfest that I'd love to do again) and I will be doing this one on the only remaining bike I have that has multiple gears. No, doing Benge's on a singlespeed and trying to be competitive would be tantamount to taking a slingshot to a gun fight. It just won't fly. There's everything from long flat to rolling sections where cruising speeds will reach 30mph+ to the final climb up to the finish at Flag Rock where the average grade is 11% and it gets STEEEEPER!

Sure, I'm not gonna scare anyone off with my entry into the race but I'll give it my best and it can only help me be better.

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