|Pictures are from Mt. Bachelor.|
Hard to believe in 13 days we'll be riding this course in sweltering hot weather when the road is still not open at the top yet due to snow. Several teammates decided to go ride the Pac Crest course this weekend (as far as they could) to get a feel for what they are in for. I know what I am in for, so I chose to stay at home and be a bull rider.
Bull Run is our infamous end of year ride before Pac Crest. Every year I do just a little bit better at it, but every year I also forget how torturous it is. 65 miles with about 4500 feet in climbing (I was told it was more like 5500 by people this year, but I have no proof of that). Every year as I hit that first steep downhill and I'm screaming along I get a huge smile on my face and then I realize that what goes down must come back up on this course, as it is an out and back. It's a beautiful ride and when we hit the aid station at 32.5 miles, I was feeling great!...and this kind of surprised me.
As I mentioned earlier this week, I've been having some tummy troubles. I was starting to worry I had picked up a parasite at the lake last weekend, and I came into this ride with a few less co2 cartridges, tubes and snacks and made a lot more room in my bag for toilet paper. I'm happy to say that I didn't have to break into the bag even once. I did break into what snacks I could fit in and I'm here to tell you that if you aren't already enjoying the Chocolate Almond COCONUT Mojo bars...you need to go get some right now! YUM!
As we headed back to finish up the next 32.5 miles, I maintained a great speed, attitude, and strength...until we got to a little 1.5ish/2 mile hill that I had completely forgotten about. It's amazing how fast you can go downhill for 1.5 and not even notice it, but getting back up that baby was H.A.R.D. My butt, my hips, my glutes...EVERYTHING was screaming at me to just stop. All of a sudden I remembered that it was just after this hill during my first season that about 4 people hopped in the SAG wagon for a ride back because they just couldn't finish the ride. I didn't quit that year and I was sure as heck not going to quit this year. I grabbed some advil from the aid station and washed it down with about 10 gummy bears, 25 sugar drops, a handful of pretzels and off we went.
I've never cried during the Bull Run ride before, but I've cried after it...in my car...with my legs cramping up...and no one could see me. But no tears this year...so I guess that's improvement. I know it made me stronger and we start taper now...
...as much as an 8 mile run tomorrow can be considered taper. Whatever...I just follow the schedule.