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Clipping In #9 The Climb

Manage your fears. I think that that a good summary of the days prior to the Mt. Washington race. Manage your fears. I have been in the event in the past and my memories were washed clean. And I knew that.

We left for Gorham, NH at 3:30 am to arrive around 7:30. The weather was warm, bordering on hot. The blessing was that there were no storms. With storms they cancel the event.

I started with the AARP wave – last. They do not want us old folks to get in the way of the younger speedsters. I figured on using 4 gears. Gear 1 was the easy “bail out” gear when the road was ultra steep. Gear 4 is harder to push but you go faster. If I was in gear 4 that meant I had great legs and this would be a terrific day. I had backed off training in the days prior so I was hoping I might be in gear 4. It is one of things, however, that you never really know how it will work out.

Well, I found out real quick. Most of this race I was in gear 2 with long, long stretches in that bail out gear. Gear 2 is harder to push, so I need leg strength. Gear one is easier to pedal but I have to pedal quickly to keep moving and that elevates the heart rate.

I do not have words to describe the ride except to say it was a mental challenge to keep going. Just focus on the five feet in front of you. I never noticed the view on the way up… but I did see that road. My mistake was that I looked up. When you look up you see the steeps to come and you wonder if you can make it.

I passed maybe 30 people who were walking and many folks who were going a little slower. I ended up 337 out of 383 finishers. 480 people had entered so I am presuming a lot of folks did not finish.

My time was 18 minutes faster than in 2017 at 2 hours and 13 minutes. I think I was a little lighter than in 2017. I also think that staying out of the easy “bail out” gear helped me go faster. I need work on getting stronger legs.

At the finish I was a lot woozy. I said to Marsha, “Send me to a shrink if I plan on this again.” The mental drain was rough. Will I chose to do this next year?

We all have potential God has given us – for some it is walking, or jogging, or skiing, or playing an instrument. One day I do not have a choice. On the way home Marsha said that next year was the 50th running of the race and I ought to be in that.

Go, go when you can.

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