Here’s an email I sent two friends Monday evening after climbing Mount St. Helens on two wheels.
74 miles, 6,590′, 4,562 cals, 17.2avg, 4:18:32. The only thing that would have made it better would have been watching the two of you pull away from me somewhere along the way. I can’t imagine better conditions, perfectly clear, 60’s, light wind. Large group, 18 I think. A group of 10 went first, then a group of 8 about 15m later. I was in the first group and we stayed together for 15-16 miles when I ATTACKED. Those capitals were meant to be a joke because I went from 8 mph to 10, but did pull away. I felt badly for the first two miles, dipping into Zone-OppsIwent toohardandnowtheresnowayIcanmaintainthis, but I did create separation and after two miles managed to find a sustainable rhythm. My advantage was having ridden 50 miles Friday-Sunday versus 200+ for alot of the maniacs in the group (J, G, R, J, KD, B, M, a few others). I glanced back on occasion and saw two people at a couple hundred meters and then no one. KD caught me somewhere around 25 in and we worked together downhill and at the start of the steep stuff near the top. I was losing a little touch, 20m, when my seat bag came undone. Took a minute to fix and that was it. She probably put another minute into me from there. So I won the men’s division and finished second overall. J and R were next, D, R, M shortly thereafter, in less than 15m, so I probably got 5th. J and M were further back, not sure why. Silly to think in terms of place, it was just nice to be alive and healthy in nature.
The last sentence is my attempt to snap out of my western, hyper-competitive frame of mind. I’m 47, riding with friends on a beautiful Memorial day and I’m thinking more like a 27 or 37 year old in the Giro d’Italia. I want to adopt a more eastern, process oriented approach to competition, but I feel captive to my gender, peers, and history.