Skiing in the Rain!!! Not the same as Singing in the rain…Well maybe
Anyone who has done an outdoor activity in the rain knows that we never really plan on doing it in the rain, nor really would choose rain over a blue bird sky. On the flip side, if you awake to rain on that chosen day you know that once you are wet and into the day, it most likely brings a smile to your face! This was certainly the case at my first event of the Challenge, the “Ski to the Clouds”.
We awoke to these conditions with heavy rain forecasted on the Auto Road.
Anyone who knows Mt Washington knows these are crazy warm temps for May, much less for March!! We packed up and headed to the mountain. The start of the race was at 10am which gave us a lot of time to be nervous and fidget with our gear… I was lucky enough to have my good friend Lee Perkins and his wife, Kelly, up for the weekend with Sas and me. Lee was entered in the race with me.
I geeked out with my gopro camera, chest harness and all, careful not to totally cover my bib number up front, and we headed out into the rain to the start. There were a lot of racing colors on the competitors… A bunch of colleges showed up with their Nordic teams, a strong (and young) looking group!! Here are some shots from the race... I was sporting my $5 ebay classic skis and had my own look working . Here is some video from my “Chesty” Gopro camera.
The start of the race… notice how fast I am left in the back of the pack!!
We skied 4k around the trail system of Great Glen Trails before heading up the hill…
Up we go!
Here I am coming into 2 mile park. Remember it is pouring out, I mean really pouring!!! The volunteers were just wonderful!!!
I am sure by now you can see from these videos that I can use them to show folks how to race!! Quite the forum, huh!! Well let me just say this was definitely a learningexperience for me! First, how to ski race (never have I done that before!), next, how to skiup a hill… oh yea, in the pouring rain and 40 degree weather… My goal was to get to the finish, not win any style or time awards along the way!!!
Pretty much for the entire climb I had one competitor a little ways in front of me which was great to keep me moving… I did manage to catch him near the finish but there was no way I was going to try and pass the guy who dragged me up the entire hill, besides, what was the point of that anyway!!
Somewhere along the climb.. when it was very obvious that I was not going to win my age group I picked the number of 1:30 for the time to beat. Don’t ask me why, it was just a number I picked. I also did not even look at my watch until after the finish… Here is my finish..
My buddy Lee was right behind me! Not bad for a guy who skied only a couple of times this year!!
Now for the fun part, the ski back down the hill!!! I grew up alpine skiing and also enjoyed downhill nordic skiing as a kid (what kid didn’t!) and really was looking forward to the 4 mile downhill run! The biggest issue was how wet and cold I was!! My boots were filled with water, no, I mean really water sloshing around in them!! I changed my gloves and put on a coat but I was soaked to the bone, pure adrenaline got me back down the mountain!!
Here is my descent, if you are bored enough to still be watching these videos If you listen carefully, you can hear just a bit of the “little kid in me” enjoying the downhill!!!
My first run up the Auto Road…. Done! Two Down, Auto Race next.
So I wanted to go sub 1:45 and I was able to accomplish that!
1:40:52, 234 overall, 31st in age group
Stay tuned for the race report….
Here is a funny file for you!
The Climb to the Clouds
The return of The Climb to the Clouds was what triggered my desire to finally be able to attempt my “Challenge,” which had been in the back of my head since I began training for my first Ironman. I was looking forward to seeing all the folks I had raced with so many years at the Auto Road again. It had been 10 years since I had seen some of them!
The week before the Climb was the Mt Washington Road Race (the foot race up the road). Sas and I decided to just stay up in NH for the entire 11 days. We were lucky enough to have a wonderful hotel (The Eagle Mountain House) in which to relax and enjoy our time. I have already posted how the run race unfolded and how happy I was with the results, so on with the car race.
The CTTC officially started on Wed, with the drivers and crew showing up for registration and technical inspection of the cars. The day before, the crew from Pikes Peak showed up after their long trek across the country. Little by little, old friends began to trickle in. The energy was building!!!
The weather up until this point had been exceptional, but the forecast was not looking too dry for the latter half of the week. Sunday (race day), however, was looking to be a bit more hopeful. We setup our EZ tents and got the “pit” ready for the event. We had a prime pit location, as I was in the program as “A Driver to Watch.” We got a lot of mileage (fun taunting) out of that over the weekend!!!!
Thursday was open for drivers to drive up the road (at tourist speed, of course) to make notes for Friday’s first practice runs. Some drivers spent the entire day driving the hill. There were a lot of Rally Teams running this year. They all ran with co-drivers to help guide them up the road. It was a packed field of very talented drivers and some really fast cars!!!
Our Thursday was a little different than everyone else’s. I chose not to drive the road and just run on my memory of the road. I was still sticking with the fact that I would not really be in the running in my class, given the field of drivers and cars, and I was just there to have a great time and enjoy the event. I had decided to compete in two events that afternoon and evening instead of driving up the hill. At 3:30 pm I entered the Great Glen Trails weekly running series, a 4k or so trail race through the woods at Great Glen. The run had lots of climbing and a long fire road downhill. It was raining and I pushed as hard as I could , it was a great run!! For what it is worth, I finished first in the masters group and 4th overall.
Next on the day’s agenda was the local mountain bike race at Great Glen Trails. They had three run groups — novice, sport, and expert. I am normally a sport rider but they had to do three 4 mile loops. I was afraid my legs only had 2 loops left after a long week so I entered the novice group. It was still raining and terribly muddy. I really enjoyed the ride and managed to move through some sport riders before finishing first in the novice group. Since my goal was not really to win anything, I asked the race organizers to have me removed from the novice group so the others could enjoy some “real” results. It was a great day!!!
Later that same evening, a group of fellow hillclimbers celebrated the life of Sim Shortman. We lost Sim to cancer earlier this year and in tribute to him, my buddy Drew Young raced Sim’s Corvette in the Climb. Sim was an incredible guy who loved life and enjoyed racing to it’s fullest!! He was also a fitness fanatic and I thought of him all day on Thursday while suffering through my races, and it made me smile.
Friday morning we were up at 4:15 am to get ready for the first practice day on the hill. While most folks spent Thursday pre-driving the hill, I decided not to…. but I did watch a few mins of my previous years’ runs just to refresh my memory…
The forecast was for rain and clouds, and that is exactly what we got. I enjoy racing in the rain, it gives a heavy, low horsepower car an unfair advantage and I could use all the help I could!!
My first run was interesting, the car felt good and I was getting used to the tires and the amount of grip I had. I finished the two runs pretty strong, first in class and 16th overall.
Since the car felt good, there was no reason to do anything to it but add gas and clean it up a little. That night, the Auto Road hosted a drivers’ reception at the lodge, and it was fun to talk with old friends, as well as meeting and talking with some new ones. What a great group of drivers we had this year!!!
Saturday morning was another early rise, up and at the mountain for 5:15am. The run order was set based on the results from the day before, and we were running fastest to slowest. This meant we were starting 16th. I felt a little funny with so many high horsepower cars starting behind me! Like I said, the wet roads equal things out… not to mention, I know this road, and even better yet, know my car pretty well!!!!!
Our first run was still a little wet and a few cars had some issues, but by the second run things had dried out pretty well. Most of the high horsepower cars had now moved past me. The two-wheel drive rally class also had some remarkable drivers in it, they finished strong! I was still holding onto 1st in class but moved back to 21st overall. Still a little surprised to be leading, but happy with my effort!
Sas and I were treated on Saturday, as my sister and her husband showed up to watch and help crew for me. It is always great to be able to share your passions with family and friends!!! They had never seen anything quite like this event and truly enjoyed it!!!
After my run on Saturday I was still very worried about my fellow drivers catching me. After each run, they were gaining more and more knowledge of the road. I was pretty sure Sunday was going to be a tough battle with them. Not to mention there was a little smack talk and ribbing going on as well, all in good fun! I still had a little left in my bag of tricks. I removed my headlights and installed covers, and also removed my full street exhaust in favor of a lighter side pipe one. This is the same setup I used 10 years ago. This dropped some weight from the car – which in hillclimbing can be very helpful! That evening we enjoyed the band that played at the base of the Auto Road.
Sunday is Race Day!!!! Paul Giblin, the event director, had a great show planned with driver introductions and the whole fanfare. It was great!!!!
We started slowest to fastest, I was 21st. This was the first time any of us had seen the road above treeline and it was going to be an interesting drive. The weather was partly cloudy, with fog predicted on the road – where and how thick, was to be determined. I started strong but with a few lifts here and there. I grabbed 4th for the fist time around 1 mile. I was surprised to find the road pretty wet after 2 mile, so I played it pretty cautiously. Up above tree line, I was pushing pretty hard, cutting corners and anticipating the fog. On five mile grade (which is the first gravel section), I was foot to the boards, and there was pretty good bite in the gravel. I misjudged the turns however, and slowed one too early due to the fog, a little time lost there. Back in it, though, climbing to 6 mile but I was still a little cautious in that stretch. This section was gravel the last time I ran here and I was unsure of the newly paved road. I also got a yellow flag, not knowing the reason for it, or where I would encounter the issue ahead of me. I still felt pretty good and headed up toward the “Cow Pasture” section of the road. The visibility was going away pretty fast as I looked up ahead. The last mile was driven from memory and seeing little glimpses of lines in the road. Pretty sketchy to say the least!!! As I finished, I was pretty bummed on how much time I had given up and was sure the other guys in my class had since passed my time. It was a long drive back down the mountain!!
Pulling into my pit, Sas had a very funny look on her face!! I had told her how bad my run felt and I was sure the others had done far better. She laughed and informed me that I had a 30+ second lead on my class!!!! I was not expecting that!!!
Sunday our Crew got even bigger with my buddies, Brad and Lance, driving up from CT very early that morning. They all chipped in to clean the car and help me tighten the exhaust that had loosened on the first run. It was a lot of fun having them around!!!!
After lunch, we lined up again for the final run up the hill, still pretty nervous about my 1stposition!!! Just as I was about to leave the starting line I heard the announcer call out the time of my closest competitor. I had, in fact, won my class on my first run. They were unable to match my first run with their drier second run!!!! The pressure was now off and I could just enjoy this last run!!!! And enjoy the run I did!!!!!!!! The road finally dried off and I was able to get a clear run up, to just about the 7 mile mark! I did have one “moment” when climbing past the “hairpin” when the car got pretty out of shape in the gravel, but I backed off and was able to save it before we left the road! I drove the last half mile by memory and was so pumped at the finish. Not for my win, but for how much fun that dam road is to drive!!!!! Pretty much every driver at the summit seemed to be feeling that way!!! After a wet foggy weekend, it was a perfect way to end the event. I also took another 10 seconds off my time, finishing the day with a 20 second gap to 2nd place!!! Nice!!
David Higgins smashed the hill record with really poor visibility, going 6:11:54!!! That must have been some ride!!!!
Paul had a great award ceremony and I jumped up on the podium with my arms held high, I was just so thankful!!!!!!
My good friend, Bob Legere, was crewing for his buddy Duane, here is Bob’s description of their weekend…
I crewed for Duane Foley from PA in the 1971 Opel Ascona, he dropped a valve on the second practice run on Friday. We called a favor in to a friend, and packed the car on the trailer at around 3:30 PM and drove to Unity, NH (3 hour tow), removed the engine, built a ‘new’ engine from leftover parts (thank you Jim MacMahon, fellow Opel racer in SCCA ITB), and installed it. At 3:30 AM we finished but the car wouldn’t start, everyone was tired and grumpy, so we packed up and drove back to Mt. Washington. I got back to my hotel at 7 AM Saturday, and crashed out until 4 PM or so. With a fresh set of eyes and clear head, we quickly saw the problem and remedied it, and fired the car. Duane then got to run the car up to the top of the hill twice on Sunday, albeit with about 80% less power than before and some less than optimal carb jetting. But he earned his bumper sticker at least!
Duane was pitted next to me and it was great to meet him and the rest of his crew. I do hope to race with them again on this great hill!!!
So, to summarize this great weekend.. Again, I am just so thankful to be able to enjoy all of it. It was great to be able to share this with my Wife Sas as well as all the other folks. We enjoyed meeting new friends and fans, as well as seeing some old friends. The Event Staff, Auto Road Staff and Great Glen Staff are, and will be, life long friends!
THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR MAKING MY LIFE SO GREAT!!!!
The effort to make it up the hill really never felt that bad. Of course, I was not skating it in 43 mins like the overall winner!!! Results here… I just managed the best pace with the traction I could muster from the skis. Here is the Garmin file from the race.
So, to sum up the weekend, and my first event — it was a blast, I smiled all weekend; it was great to have Sas there to share this with me, as well as Lee and Kelly!! The staff at the event were great and are all really excited about the rest of my events to come!!
I guess I was singing in the rain, it was just a great weekend!! I love my life!!
Newton’s Revenge… What a fitting name for my first cycling climb up the Auto Road!
Climbing anything uphill is all about power to weight ratio, and as I get older it has been very tough to gear either of these where I would want them
It always amuses me that just because I do active things, everyone expects me to eat very healthy all the time. Now do not get me wrong, I eat as well as I can, but in reality nothing is really “off limits.” As I have stated in the past postings, this whole journey has been about enjoyment and fun. Not always so easy for an inherent “Type A” guy like me.
This past weekend, Sas and I headed back up to my favorite mountain for the Newton’s Revenge Cycling Hillclimb. This is this is the 4th event in the challenge and one at which I was just going to have fun. My only expectation was to try and finish a sub 1:30. I was a little worried about attaining that, but no worries!
Dan Janson has a great website for those type A guys out there, he analyzes everything about most of the big mountains in the northeast.
Armed with one of his calculators I could put in my information:
As you can see I did not have much room for error to meet my goal.
The other issue I had was whether I would be starting with the “Top Notch” group. Reaching the ‘Top Notch” group at Mt Washington is kind of like qualifying for the Boston Marathon — except once you accomplish it, you are in for life. In 2006, I was lucky enough to have 2 years of Ironman training under my belt when I took the starting line for my first attempt at the Auto Road on my bike. Armed with that fitness, I road a 1:15 climb, and anything under 1:20 allows you to start up front with the Pro Riders in the years to come. Back to the summer of 2011, without 2 years of Ironman training and 10 more pounds of fat I cannot seem to get rid of…. Not really a recipe for a top notch finish! At check-in, I found the line for my age group first, but no … my name was not on their list, and I was listed to be lined up with the fast guys…. Honestly, it took some pressure off me, as I now knew I would be the very last guy in that group, and would enjoy the other fast age groupers catching me after starting 5 mins back.
Friday night at dinner, I decided not to play the part of the type A athlete and instead, enjoyed a full dinner with a beer and a very large brownie sundae. Life was very good indeed!
We woke to rain on race day morning, but thankfully it was just a passing shower and the day was looking to be great! I warmed up with my buddy Rod and just enjoyed the whole process. My plan was to ride at around 210 watts as I was pretty sure that was my current FTP. We lined up and I was off with the rest of the Top Notch folks! … well at least for the first 20 feet or so. In a blink of an eye, the entire group was gone up the hill! I just settled into my wattage and enjoyed the day.
Around the 2 mile mark, the first of the age groupers caught me, he was out of the saddle and dancing on the peddles (he ended up winning overall!!!). I was feeling pretty good and managing my effort well. From time to time, I would push the wattage a bit to see how it felt, and so far so good. At around mile 3 I caught and passed another Top Notch rider. Sweet, no longer last in the group!!! Things were going better than expected . Still feeling good at the 4 mile mark, I looked down and found a split time of 41 mins. Hey, I might put up a decent time after all. I decided to up the wattage a bit and keep riding by feel. 5 mile grade was nicely packed, even after the rain the night before. I could hear the wind up above and was ready for it. As I rounded the hairpin I was hit with the 50 mph head wind. Funny this only fuels me! I really enjoy the epic nature of tough conditions!! I made it up past 6 mile park with the wind now at my side. At times, it even felt like the wind was helping me a little through that section. The very sharp left hander at the end of 6 mile is very, very steep but now I had a tail wind and sat up as high as I could to gain any advantage I could from it! I was digging pretty deep by now and the clouds were starting to thicken. At the 7 mile mark I caught and passed another top notch rider. I turned off my watch as I knew it was going to be close for a top notch finish (sub 1:20). The clouds were very thick and I could not see 10’ in front of me but I could hear the cow bells and the cheering at the finish. Just after where the car finish line was, the road flattens a bit. I shifted to my middle ring and pushed as hard as I could. When the road kicked back up I could not shift back down, I kicked the derailleur a few times and it dropped back down. There was no way I was going to ride the last 200 yards of 22% in that gear!! Just as I hit the steepest part of the hill, the rider I had just passed came by me out of the saddle. I had no response for that!!! I was going to be lucky to get in the dozen or so peddle strokes needed just to finsh!! As I looked up, I saw a 1:21 on the clock, NICE!!! I just made it across the line and almost fell off the bike. I got my medal and my fleece blanket and just hung on my bike for a few mins to collect myself… I had nothing left, just the way I enjoy finishing a hard effort!!!
I found Sas (or maybe she found me) and had to sit down. It was a great ride and one I am very proud of!
Here is my Power Tap file. I was very happy with the 230 watt average!!
I got changed and waited for my buddy Rod to finish, he came across with a huge PR. It was a great day!! We all enjoyed the great turkey dinner at the base, and then Sas and I headed home. Another great weekend at Mt Washington!!!
24 Hours of Great Glen
This was to be the only event not “on or up” the Auto Road. I added it as a little bonus since it was held at the base of the Auto Road and put on by the same great folks at Great Glen Trails.
I had been working on Coach Al and my buddy, Rod (my mountain bike riding buds) to put together a team for this race. It did not take that much convincing, and they put together a 4-man team.
One of the neat things about the 24 hour race is you camp out Friday and Saturday nights. The field at the base of the Auto Road is transformed into quite a tent city! Anyone who knows me well, knows how much I enjoy my “gear” and this was a great chance to pull it ALL out . With the truck all packed up, and the ATV in tow, we headed back up for the last time this year .
We grabbed a nice spot and began setting up camp for the weekend. Rod followed us up and was there to help out (after figuring out his own tent).
Al and his son AJ showed up a short time later. We were also treated to the company of my Sister, Marcy, and her husband, Phil. We had almost as many supporters as we had riders ! The weather looked great and the riders headed out for a course recon lap.
The course was very dry (a first for me!) and had a few nice changes from years past. Still 8 miles with 1500′ of climbing each lap (which meant a lot of walking for this single speed rider). Even the dreaded “plunge” was still there but with some steps built in…
I came into this weekend like I have for most of my events this year.. with the attitude of “well lets just ride and see how it goes.” I might ride 1 lap or 23, I will not know until I get on course.
The race started at noon Saturday and Al (the first rider on “Team Pursuit Fitness”) and I lined up for the “Le Mans” run around the pond, then on our bikes and on the course.
The first lap is always interesting. All the riders are bunched up and trying to seat themselves. We started at the back and slowly picked off riders. My legs did not feel all that great as I made my way around the course. I started down the “plunge” (about 3/4 mile from the finish) and caught the edge of one of the logs and blew out the bead on my front tire. I stopped and tried to fix it but the tire would not hold air so I walked the bike in… not a great way to start my first lap of the race, but again, I have 24 hours to finish this! Luckily Phil found that I just had some tree bark in the tire bead and once removed, I was good to go! Back out on course… I ended the day with 4 laps and some very tired legs. I showered and had some dinner, still unsure if I would even head back out on course at all.
In the meantime Al, AJ and Rod were picking off laps and having a blast! Both Al and Rod got in some night riding, Rod called it a night around midnight. I was in bed around 10pm .
I awoke to the sounds of Rod getting ready to head back out on course, not sure of the time. Sas and I got busy cooking up some breakfast. Bacon, eggs and yes SPAM as well as a few pots of coffee. I love breakfast!! Meanwhile my Sister Marcy was tirelessly making sure no one in our group finished a lap without her there to cheer them on! Man talk about support! It is hard to explain how nice it is to be greeted and cheered for after a long lap out on the course!
I enjoyed a great breakfast with no real plans of riding any more.. Just kind of enjoying the whole weekend for what it was. After breakfast, Rod came back in and Al suited up and headed out on course. I grabbed my camera and headed out to get some shots of him.
After running around trying to get some pic’s of Al, I decided maybe I could jump back on my bike and get in another lap or 2… So out I went..
Can you say deer caught in the headlights
The first two laps went pretty well, I even got a chance to help Coach Al with a broken chain. The third lap was a little tougher…. I was starting to think maybe I could get in 4 laps if all went well…. but just into the start of the lap I lost my water bottle.. not good, as it was starting to get warm out… I was also starting to cramp a bit. With about a mile to go, I got a rear flat tire. I ride tubeless with tire sealant, but the hole was too big for it to seal. I had a tube with me but decided to just try and ride it in as I kept adding air with my pump. After my first lap issue with the “plunge” I decided to take the walk around route for the rest of my laps..
Time was ticking and I was not sure if I would get in my 4 laps before noon. If you come in just before noon, you can head out for one more lap, however there is a time limit of 1:15 pm. My plan was not to head back out for a 5th lap but the type A in me still wanted to finish under 12 noon … just because . I added more air at the timing tent and headed back out for my last lap. Besides the cramping, I still felt pretty good, much better than the day before. About a 1/2 mile into the lap I was losing too much air so I decided to add my tube to the rear tire, getting worried I would not make my 12 noon goal. I changed it, and off I went. The first few miles of the loop were almost all uphill with most of it too steep for me to ride on my single speed bike. After all the “hiking,” I cramped so bad on a flat section that I fell off my bike. Both calves and quads locked up like they never have before!!! It has also started to rain out for the first time of the weekend. I sat there in pain, I could see the finish tent across the field even though I was only 2.5 miles into my 8 mile loop, and thinking I could just limp in and forgo this last lap. But I decided to give it a little more effort. I really wanted to finish this last lap, so I collected myself and got back in the saddle. I still had a few twinges but overall was holding off any more cramps. The last two laps I rode almost all the hills I had walked the day before. I was still putting in some pretty fast laps for SS. Walk/ran the last long hill and rode in with 5 mins to spare. I was totally shot but very happy with my effort and weekend, mission accomplished!!!!
Here is my file from the weekend…
We spent the afternoon repacking the truck and headed off to the Eagle Mt House for a comfortable bed and a nice shower.
It was a great weekend and I feel so lucky to have Sas with me to share this event with!
Love you hun!!
The last and final event!!!! The Mt Washington Bicycle Hillclimb
How lucky am I - to even have the opportunity, the luck, the health, and the support to attempt this “Challenge” in the first place, much less to share it all with Sas!!
Sas and I decided to stay up in NH the week between the 24 hour mountain bike race and the bicycle hillclimb. While Sas worked remotely, I got a chance to enjoy another great part of NH on my ATV. Coach Al and AJ rode with me both Monday and Tuesday in the rain, which was still great fun. We had the entire Jericho ATV Park to ourselves!!!
On Wedesday, Sas jumped on the back of the ATV to see the place we have all be talking about. With great luck, a big Moose jumped out of the woods onto the trail right in front of us! Very cool thing to see!!
On Thursday, I got in some hill repeats and rode a lap of the weekly mountain bike race course at Great Glen Trails. We also got a chance to ride the Cog Railway, the last and final way to reach the summit of Mt Washington!
Friday had us moving from Mt Madison in Gorham back over to the Eagle Mt House in Jackson (our home away from home this past year .
Friday evening we headed over to the hill to pick up my number and other registration stuff for the Hillclimb. While there, a few folks noticed my list of events on my truck. It is always fun for me to talk about the different things I have done and also to hear about the things others are doing as well! It is even better when I can lend a hand with advice or tips for the upcoming race! We also meet up with the Kozlowski family. Jeff is a good friend and has done this race every year for the past 9 years!!! It was good to find them as we needed someone to drive my truck (and Sas) to the summit the next morning. Bull, Jeff’s stepdad, offered. We enjoyed a great meal at the Flatbread Pizza place in North Conway with the ”Koz Family.”
The next morning we were up and out pretty early at the base of the hill, and while waiting for Jeff, a few more folks came by to check on my events of the year. It is all about the memories and stories for me!!! I just love sharing, uh, can’t you tell (hello…. blog….)
The “Koz” family arrived and we got everyone ready to drive up. Bull drove my truck with Sas and Jeff’s son along for the ride…
Jeff and I warmed up on the road and just enjoyed the amazing and beautiful morning. The sun was bright and the temps just right. Better yet we could see the summit!!!
We both talked about what power we were going to target … it sounded like we were going to be in the same area and time. We both started in “Top Notch” but knew we would quickly be off the back of the group, but no worries!! I just needed to get to the summit one more time!
The cannon went off and we started up the hill… still a little unsure of my power and of my legs. I rode a little harder at this start than at Newton’s Revenge, as I hoped I had more miles under my belt. Jeff jumped out in front and away he went . It was to be a lonely climb . As the age groupers slowly picked me off, it was pretty clear that this wasnot going to be a record day for me. I was pretty spent at the halfway point and decided to just enjoy this very last event of my challenge. I kept the gearing easy and just sat up and spun up the hill (still not an easy ride!!). As riders came by I tried to encourage everyone and could not help but smile. As I climbed the steep grade to the “Cow Pasture,” the official photographer mentioned I was the only one so far that was smiling… well, there you go :-)
As I rode to the last climb (22%) it was great to hear all the cheering and the cow bells ringing, as I love the support and energy everyone brings to these events!!! I suffered up the steep grade and across the finish I rode, I held up my hand to show 5 events done!
My slowest time up the hill on a bike to date! But it’s all good, and a perfect way to finish this challenge. As I have stated already, a big part of this challenge was to not worry about results, but to just enjoy the journey and more importantly, to share it with my wonderful wife, Sas!! Jeff finished strong and enjoyed, what I believe, was his 10th finish up the road, nice!!
Sas and I worked our way back down to where Bull had parked the truck and just hung out on the tailgate cheering on all the riders, again what a terrific way to finish my challenge!!
Wrapping up my Challenge…
Throughout this year folks have asked which part of the “Challenge” was my favorite. I would have to say hands down sharing the adventure with my wife, Sas. For many of the events this was her first experience with them, and I truly enjoyed sharing them with her!!!
We both looked forward to heading back north, everyone was so excited and supportive of this effort. The crew at the Auto Road and Great Glen Trails are the best and feel like old friends now! Our stay at the Eagle Mountain House was the best!!! The fellow competitors and supporters with whom we shared the events made it all worthwhile. Each event seemed to bring a new group of friends and new acquaintances which made it that much more special!
The entire experience gave me the opportunity to learn to enjoy the process and each event, instead of just racing for time. I knew that this was to be a big challenge for me – being of a “Type A” personality! I believe I kept it all in perspective and truly enjoyed it all!!!
It was great fun to experience some events with my family first hand, as these events really needed to be seen rather than to be heard about. I am so thankful for their great support and love!
I will have to say that the Climb to the Clouds Auto Hillclimb stands out! This was the event that first brought me to the Auto Road back in 1993. It was so great to see my long time racing buddies and their families!! This event also spanned 5 days and only had 60 competitors – which, as you can imagine, only breeds true camaraderie!!!! I came into this event with very low expectations and right up until my final run up the hill, I was sure I would not even podium with all the other great racers in my class!!! To win my class in the car I have raced 9 previous years with on the hill was… well I am not even sure I can put it into words!!! It was the greatest event!!!!
Thanks for everyone’s support!!!!