I woke to see it pouring down rain and cold outside. It's August dammit and it is not suppose to rain. It has been in the 80's all week and the weather changed just in time for the race. I decided to bag it and go back to bed. I hate this race. It is only 2.5 miles but has an average grade of 7.2% with stretches that are around 14%. It is a hard climb when you are just riding it for fun....what did I just say??? When you are at race pace it friggin' hurts. I was back in bed and loving it when the phone rang. It was my friend John from Byrne. He lives in Seattle and was asking if it was raining in Issaquah. I told him it was and that I was not going to race. Back under the covers I went. About 45 minutes later he called back and said he had been training hills for weeks and that he was going to drive over and race. I told him to have fun and went back to bed. My wife pretty much called me a wimp and told me to buck up and get out there. I dressed, grabbed some coffee and some oatmeal and rolled down the hill. As I was heading down Newport John passed me and I think he was happy to see me. I met him at the start and noticed that it stopped raining. Almost all of the 100 racers that showed up had finished. I think there were about 200 that signed up so there were a lot of no shows. Joel let us take our time to warm up so we rolled towards Issaquah. When we got back it was just me, John and two others. John said there was no way he was going to let me go behind him and they told me to go first. I had no rabbits to chase. The road was still completely wet. I took off and instead of hammering like I have the last two years I really concentrated on my heart rate and cadence. I wanted to stay seated as long as I could for fear I would slip my back wheel if I got out of the saddle. I was keeping my cadence between 90 and 100rpm's and was feeling pretty good. A couple of times I wanted to get out of the saddle but forced myself to stay seated. Then I realized why I hate this race so much. You can't get in a good rhythm because of the was the gradient changes and the switchbacks. As you hit the long straight away to the finish you want to quit but something pushes you to kick it up a notch. There is a false flat near the finish and you think your are done but......the final 200 meters are hell. I crossed the line and was told I had a good time but I didn't care. I just continued to ride back to my house. To my surprise I found out I finished 10th overall with a sub 13 minute time. It was my best time so far. You would think that it would drive me to want to race again next year but as I always do I'm promising my self that I won't.