An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
Comments welcome!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Lucky Masochist's Gravel Deuce, Part IV

It's been a week, so the pain has subsided enough to think about another event. But I'm getting ahead of myself already.

Last weekend... Well, not last weekend, but the one before, the one after the Seattle-to-Portland support day... Anyway, it was the fourth edition of the Lucky Masochist's Gravel Deuce, my gift to the cycling community in the form of two days of riding in Capital Forest and areas to the south. 

Based out of the Lucky Eagle Casino, the first day travels counter-clockwise around Capital Peak, with some very long and steep gravel roads thrown in because... Well, because. The second day meanders southeast before hitting gravel again, then goes southwest to the Brooklyn Tavern for lunch.

Weather this year was the warmest it's been for this ride. I like the heat. I'm strange like that. But I think I still had difficulty keeping up with hydration demands. I suffered on the steeper inclines, watching my ride mate disappear into the distance every time the road tilted up to any significant degree. I was doubting myself the whole way. And then I had to walk some of the steepest grade.

I maintain that there's no shame in needing to walk any of this ride, and two of the four rides now I've been able to make it up this particular hill without walking. That day was not to be. My Garmin kept up the joke by telling my it was auto-pausing. Even when I finally got back on the bike, it couldn't decide whether I was moving or not. Lovely. Here, have some salt to rub in that knife wound, how about...

But I soldiered on, the descents a sweet reward. This was my first time using the Kinekt seatpost on this course, and I could tell it made a big difference in my descending. Some of the roads were "chunkier" than I remember from previous editions, but it made less impact (haha) to my speed. The ride was just that much smoother.

The last hill... mountain, really, is a long, LONG ascent. It just keeps on hitting you with more. But I made all that just pushing through the pain, slogging my way upward, and watching the elevation profile rather than my (low) single-digit speed. 

Tailwinds on the final run back to the hotel were a welcome relief, and the brews and sandwiches that my wife provided to feed us eventually brought be back to humanity.

Just in time for day two.

This time, again, I was alone. Just me, myself, and I for the ride. So maybe I didn't push as much at the beginning. Or maybe I had just recovered better. In any case, no difficulty. But also, since I was alone, I opted to not take the road all the way out to the Brooklyn. Traffic considerations had me cut off about 10 miles, along with the lunch stop, so I could get home sooner. The hour plus drive back can easily turn into three given Sunday afternoon highway congestion. 

I had been considering signing up for the Cascade Bike Club's High Pass Challenge, a 104-mile out-and-back jaunt from Packwood to the Windy Ridge lookout over Spirit Lake and Mount St Helens (site of the May 18, 1980, explosive eruption). For those keeping score, that also includes 7500 ft of uphill. Given how I felt on Saturday, I was having doubts. 

But as I said at the beginning of this little diatribe, it's been a week, the pain has subsided, and I've had another weekend of test rides to see if I am, or at least will be, ready for the ride. And I think I'll be okay.

I signed up yesterday.

No comments: