Tuesday, April 21, 2009

More Weekend Update

Yes, there are worthy topics to discuss on a cycling blog, like Tyler Hamilton, Theo Boss and L-B-L, but instead I like to focus on myself. So here is Sunday's recap. First, though, keep in mind that Saturday was the first day of "I feel good, nay great" that I have had this year.

Sunday - Due to family commitments, I needed to ride early and thankfully the weather cooperated, so I met Quicksilver a bit before 7.30 am to go ride the Four Mounds course featured in the Washington State Road Racing Championships. BTW, this event is hosted by Rocket Velo, who also supports the most active discussion board around here. Chapeau, Rocket Velo. That being said, I should also comment on their choice of course. Damn you, Rocket Velo!

You don't have to be prescient to see what is coming next. Even if "Four Mounds" doesn't mean anything to you, it should be clear that the use of a clever literary device like "foreshadowing" by reminding you of my great day on Saturday that I was not going to follow up with anything good on Sunday. Saturday was like Icarus cruising around and noticing how all the people on the ground looked like ants. Sunday was like Icarus cruising around and noticing how the wax was melting off his wings and that the ground was getting a lot closer very fast.

Spokane is blessed with a lot of great riding. We have flats, hills, almost car free roads for hundreds of miles, trails and lots of whatever a cyclist is looking for. We are like Portland except that we have less rain and our riding is better. We are like Austin but without all the cool music and our riding is better. We are like . . . you get the point. Anyway, one of the other things Spokane was blessed with years ago was the Olympic Team Road Cycling Trails in 1984 and 1988 and the course they used to test the legs of the very best amateur cyclists in the United States of America was the Four Mounds course.

The devilish part of Four Mounds are not the actual mounds themselves because, well, they are mounds. You can cruise up and down lots of mounds and not feel like an Iowa flatlander in Leadville. No, the devilish part is getting UP to the damn mounds. There are a few routes up to this area, but for a Spokane cyclist they translate something like this: Charles Road - awesome descent, what? you want me to climb that thing?; Coulee Hite Road - awesome descent, what? well at least it ain't Charles Road; and finally Four Mounds Road - not an awesome descent - it's too damn steep, what? why the hell would I decide to ride a bicycle up that beast?

Well, the reason I decided to ride up that beast is that when Rocket Velo started getting the word out about the race at the end of June, Rider 1 suggested that Team Two Wheel focus on it. So, in a fit of enthusiasm, I said something like "Sure, let's go ride it this weekend and talk about it." Actually, the full meaning and intent of my answer was something more like this, "Sure, let's go ride it this weekend and talk about whether it's a race that is suitable for us and let's completely ignore the fact that we are all three more in the power rider category than hill climber category and that this route has a very, very steep 1.5 mile climb about 5 miles before the finish line and, oh yeah, Rider 1 & 2 are power riders meaning that they are good all-arounders with good sprints and I personally am a power rider meaning I have no skills other than pushing my gargantuan carcass along flat roads, but sure, why not, let's go ride Four Mounds."

So that's what we did.

Or rather, that's what Quicksilver did. He rode the Four Mounds course. He also told me stories in a calm voice indicating that his breathing was even and relaxed. The whole time. Now it is possible that his breathing wasn't even and relaxed as we actually climbed the Four Mounds hill but I couldn't confirm that since I wasn't close enough to have heard him signaling me with an air horn, much less noticing his breath. Also, I was in a hypoxic state where the world was swimming around. I only took comfort in the fact that the movement around me indicated that I was still upright, since it is hard to balance a bike at that speed. I think it looked like I was practicing my track stands - a little forward and then a little back - but somehow I eventually track stood my way to the top.

From there we continued doing what we had been doing before. I was regretting agreeing to sully my memory of how good I felt on Saturday by punishing myself with every pedal turn and Quicksilver was rolling along in his conversational breathing mode, probably wondering why he had decided to ride Four Mounds with me instead of doing something with more aerobic benefit for him, like doing his laundry.

We did ride for about 3 hours, although my guess is that we only covered about 30 miles at the speed I was going. We eventually made it back to our meeting spot, where Quicksilver headed left towards his home and I continued straight, for about 900 feet, where I got off my bike and ate and drank everything I had left with me in hopes of making it the last three or four miles to my house. Remember Saturday when I came into the kitchen with a smile on my face? Gone. It was back to complaining and collapsing. And yes, I did kick the dog.


  1. Now I almost feel bad about locking out your lowest cog ;)

    ...juuuuust kidding!