Racing tales from the great Pacific Northwest

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Washington State Hill Climb Championships - Crystal Mt. TT

I wasn't really looking forward to this race. I was feeling a little burned out and had no real interest in busting my ass up a six mile climb as fast as I could. I was in the running for a top 3 finish in the CAT 3 BARR (Best All Around Road Racer) and figured I had to show up. A friend of mine graciously allowed us to stay up at his condo at Crystal so Denise and I headed up Friday night. It was a beautiful evening. We hit the Elk for a couple of brews and dinner before calling it a night.

I got up around 8:00am, ate some breakfast then walked over to check in and see what time I was to start. My start time wasn't until 12:32 so I had plenty of time to get ready and warm up. I then noticed that the one guy (Karl C.) that could knock me off the BARR podium was starting 30 seconds behind me. Great, worst case scinariou is that could just gain a couple of seconds and then pace me the rest of the way. The weather had drastically changed from the day before and the temperature had dropped quite a bit. It was chilly but not bad.

I decided to head down and ride the course. It was really chilly on the way down. I headed back up and was feeling really pretty good. I reached the top, finished getting ready and headed back down to warm up more on 410. With five minutes to go I rolled up to the start and was still feeling great. I went off pretty hard and within the first couple of minutes I was closing on my 30 second guy. I was still feeling good and then.......WTF!! I got back spasms. I have never had this happen before and it felt like someone was tugging on my back with vice grips. I had to alter my riding position and couldn't take really deep breaths. I was taking short, shallow breaths and my hr shot way up. I was slowing down fast. I tried to maintain my focus but it was hard. I tried to stretch it out but it didn't work. I took a quick look back and Carl was closing fast. I tried to step it up but couldn't. I wasn't much past the two mile mark when he flew by me. I yelled at him to go win the thing and then settled back in to my personal hell. I almost decided to stop but just kept going. Pretty soon, Peter A., who started a minute back flew by and soon I saw Danny who started 1 1/2 minutes back coming up. I was totally losing it and didn't know what to do. He went around me right as we approached the section that levels out to about 4%. I was able to get in my big ring and change my position on the bike. All of a sudden the pain was gone. It was like nothing happened. I started to dig and was able to keep pace with Danny. Unfortunately I was running out of real estate and there wasn't much I could do. I hit the 1K mark and started and kicked it up a notch. The legs were now in total pain but it felt nothing like what I was going through earlier. The final stretch kicks up again to about 6% and when I hit that the spasms started again. I tried to finish strong and put in one finally big push. I thought I was going to cry(maybe I did). I crossed the line, coasted down the parking lot and jumped off the bike. The pain stopped and I just sat there. I looked at my computer and saw that my time was over a minute slower than last year. I was pretty bummed. Carl ended up winning and I finished 5th. I ended up 4th in the BARR, missing 3rd by just one point. After showering we hit the BBQ and I felt fine. I've been on some hard training rides and raced several time since and have had no further issues. I have not even felt even a little pain. I am praying it never, ever happens again.

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