Monday, July 5, 2010

2010 Horribly Hilly Hundreds: Stage 2

One stage down, 4 more to go. Although it's never a good idea to think about how much you have left.

Stage 2 is normally when the heat starts getting to you. However this year we all noticed that there really wasn't a stifling heat going. It was actually fairly pleasant, and although there was some wind going, at that time it was just a breeze that kept the air moving. In short, it looked like the weather may look favorably upon us this year.

Stage 2 is slightly more challenging than stage 1. The climbs start showing up a little more frequently, and at this point you now have to start eating while on the bike. Breakfast (if done correctly) carries you all the way through until the first rest stop, but from here on out you now have to start popping GU. And you also have to pay attention to your hydration as that is starting to get behind as well. In short, you're body is starting to rely on reserves and in order to survive, you'll need to start eating and drinking more frequently than stage 1.

One of the first tests of stage 2 happens quite quickly. Just a few miles in you run into Barlow road. Upon clearing that you happen upon Garfoot, where you pose for your picture. I made it up these 2 without a whole lot of difficulty and for the first time that day I start to get the thought in my head that I may just in fact do this thing this year. All other years, even last year when I was in the best shape I've been in, I started faulturing just a smidget on these early climbs. No doubt now that that was due to the heat. The other years the heat has been nothing more than stifling. The sun beats down, and the humidity is so high that the air is thick with water. Taking a deep breath is about as refreshing as breathing in a sauna. However this year when you breathe in, it does what it's supposed to. It revitalizes you, and the cadence you hammer out on those hills just kind of beat themselves out. I cleared the first 2 major climbs (Mounds Park Road and Barlow/Garfoot) and thumbed my nose at the HHH. My confidence starting going up and with each hill on that second stage, it ratcheted higher and higher. More people were walking on the side of the road, and I plowed (well, however much you plow while doing 3-4mph on a bike) by them. I even managed to pass a few people. And I wasn't redlining or at max suffering. By no means was it easy, and it was far beyond challenging, however I was pulling it off far better than I ever had in the past.

The thought repeated itself in my head again, a little closer to the surface this time, "I may just pull it off this year."

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