Last Updated Jun 30, 2011 11:02 AM EDT
The closer you are to fainting the more your reasoning skills suffer. That's why it took me a while to figure out why they were cheering.
I wasn't able to ride until 8 p.m. so I decided to do hill repeats on a half-mile road with an 8% grade. The road winds through a huge apartment complex filled mostly with college students, but the city installed bike lanes when the road was built so traffic is a non-issue. (Harrisonburg works hard to build a bike-friendly infrastructure.)
The first time up is always the worst: Sore legs, limited warmup, zero fun when your heart rate jumps from 80 to 160 bpm in two minutes. Second time up was better, third time better yet... but by the 18th time up I was struggling. I couldn't keep my heart rate under 175 near the end of each climb and the rapid increase and decrease in heart rate gave me a killer headache.
The 19th time up I heard a ragged cheer. I glanced over and saw at least 20 kids who had pulled chairs and coolers onto the grass at the top of the hill to watch me.
(Is now a good time to mention it's never good to be the subject of a spectator sport when you're 51 years old?)
I pretended to ignore them as I crested the hill, turned, and pedaled back down. Next time up the cheer was louder and I heard someone say, "Told you he would make it! Chug it!"
As I turned to head back down they cheered again, clearly happy I wasn't finished. After 25 times up I was done so I stopped to wave. Some appeared disappointed, others were clearly relieved. One young man jogged over and said, "That was awesome, dude! We had a great time. Are you coming back tomorrow night?"
So now I'm a drinking game.
I guess there are worse things to be. Just can't think of any right now.
86 days to go.
(Note to readers: If you noticed the big jump in days remaining from the last post, no, the time-space continuum didn't shift. I originally miscounted the number of days remaining until the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo on September 24. Serves me right for running out of fingers and toes.)
- 99 Days: Many People Coach; Few are Coaches
- 101 Days: Why I Decided to Tackle an 'Impossible' Goal
- 102 Days: It's All Uphill From Here
- Adventures in Mastering Big, Gnarly Goals