Saturday, May 2, 2009

Up, Up and Away!

There are some people who love to climb and there are others who just can’t do it! I happen to be one that almost has “panic attacks” at the thought of having to climb a mountain since I live where there are no hills for training. My manderkitten, Banker Bob, thinks it is just plain fun to go on vacation, climb a hill, and tell the story when it’s over. For me, going to the bar, having a bottle of wine, hoping I forgot to pack my biking shoes, is a better story.

Bob and I left early Friday to go to Wintergreen so we could enjoy a nice quiet get away for the weekend. I usually love to talk for hours about nothing, but found that I had nothing to say all the way up the road. There was too much traffic, we missed the exit to Jefferson Avenue in Newport News to go to Trader Joes, and ended up at Wintergreen an hour after we should have. Once I did get my race #, had a meal under my belt, I settled in to a night of thinking “why am I doing this when I don’t have to." When I woke up early on Saturday and opened our door to the patio at our very nice condo at Wintergreen, I felt the breeze blowing through the door. That was a great sign since I realized it would be a tailwind all the way from the start to the finish. It was now time to put on my “race face” and get my head into the task ahead.

Since I had been awake off and on all night , I talked Bob into going to the start very early, parking the car and getting ready since I was thinking the social side of this race was going to take place before my start and not after. We did a little warm up and before I knew it I was facing the beast and it wasn't going to be pretty.

I felt good starting out and I was glad I had my new Storck which is known as the lightest frame in the world, taking me up the ascent. I saw Jacob on the sidelines cheering me on. I heard someone saying "you don’t even need to peddle because that bike will take you up the hill." I was in my zone and pretty much didn’t hear anything else. I remember getting to the lodge and turning left to the last hill of the climb and wondering where the devil was with a fork, who had been there in the past. I was just looking for BLOG material at that point. Well the good news is that I did finish, didn’t have to walk and felt great at the end. I was happy with my finish of 50:52 and placing 3rd in the master’s ladies category. My teammate, Ali, did a 48:42 for her first Wintergreen Ascent and placed 2nd in the Category 4. Congratulations to DeeDee for breaking her own course record with a time of 39:36 and to Jeremiah Bishop for breaking the course record with a 32:00.

I’ll be back next year and will probably have the same misgivings of the race. I know it’s good to challenge yourself in doing things you normally don’t do to make yourself stronger. I know others feel the same. Next year I know I’ll have more Vanderkittens by my side. I know I won’t be first and won’t be the last. To finish is a good goal.

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