Newton's Redemption

If I’m being honest, I was still hoping to crack 1:20 and get close to my predicted time…

(Back on July 18, 2009 I posted a time of 34:20 on Ascutney. According to Doug’s calculator, I should have been able to do 1:17:29. However, that ignores a bunch of things like that my training has been spotty at best during the intervening 4 years, and I didn’t really start riding this year until about May, a good 2 months later than I’d typically try to start my spring buildup.)

…and really, who was I kidding, 19 minutes improvement in only a month? Add to that, talking to other racers, it seems conditions Saturday were such that they might have been considering canceling. about 75-80 at the base, 55, light drizzle, heavy fog and 60+ mph winds at the top. In the end, I managed 1:25:23. Everything went better this time. I had the cross bike back, and I had taken it up to Blue Hill for a test run last Monday. All seemed ready to go. Put on a new pair of Ultremo DDs, the bike felt fast and comfortable. I spent the night at the Joe Dodge AMC lodge after grabbing pizza in Conway and a pint of (how could I say no?) Switchback Ale. The Lodge didn’t have the most comfortable beds, but they provided a nice breakfast, which meant I ate better than my typical pre-race banana or powerbar or nothing, as is often the case. I also kept the 12-36 cassette on there, but this time I adjusted the limit screw on the derailleur so I couldn’t use the 36. And during the race I used the 32 less than I had the 36 during the practice ride.

I started pretty hard, keeping the top riders in my group (20-39) in sight for a while. I think I went a bit too hard, because a few people passed me during miles 2-4. After mile 4, just before the dirt section, I recovered a bit and forced myself to use harder gears, 26-26 wherever possible. At the end of the dirt section (or maybe a little earlier) the wind really kicked up. There were some parts where you’d be riding around a curve and feel like you rode right into a brick wall. At one point when the gradient eased up I tried to eat something and could barely keep myself upright with the sidewind. The most amusing was during some sections of (very welcome) tailwind, my sweat would drip down my nose and fly forward and land about 5 feet in front of my bike. Thought to myself, shit, my sweat’s riding faster than I am.

The last 1.5 miles or so, the fog was so tight I couldn’t see more than 10 feet in front. Thankfully, just before the end you start seeing crowds, parked cars, and hearing the announcer. Crossed the line seeing 1:30 on the clock (my wave started 5:00 minutes after the clock) and was greeted by a warm blanket. Awesome day on the bike.

The race photographer also grabbed a pretty awesome shot of me climbing around the 4 mile mark.

Also, if I can keep up this momentum, I have some other updates, including a few great rides in New Hampshire a couple weeks ago.


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