|After finishing 125 miles in 7:37.|
Tim Marks is my hero, and he knows it.
This is a bad thing, for at least a couple of reasons. The first is that Tim seems to need to exhibit his cycling prowess in front of his adoring fans. The second is that I feel the need to prove to him that I'm actually worthy of riding his wheel.
The plan was simple: I would accompany Tim on his regularly-scheduled Saturday training ride. Jill, as usual, would be his rock-solid and uber-organized support team. I had the option of riding as many or as few miles as I wanted to, and then I could throw my bike and self into the support van and switch allegiances for the duration of the ride.
Of course, I wanted to go big, or not at all (and I was wearing my lucky socks, after all).
And so, I'm proud to say that this was the longest one-day ride I've ever done, and I'm especially pleased with myself because of the elevation grade of this route.
The ~8000 feet of climbing over the 125 miles doesn't really give an accurate picture. It was mostly rolling, with some 'Death Valley-like' climbs (5%- 7% over a couple of miles - my favorite kind). But there were some 'monsters' thrown in to keep things interesting. Tim's designation of these was a bit haphazard. He told me that there were 5 'monster' climbs; I counted more like 9. And in between, the relatively easy 9% grades didn't even register a mild warning.
One of the highlights of this ride, besides the company and the incredible scenery (no, Tim, I'm not talking about your ass...) was the conversation. Or, lack thereof. I told Tim that I wouldn't be chatting, since I needed to conserve energy.
But that didn't stop him from imparting some of his own wisdom. Tim had some favorite sayings, I found:
#1: 'What's in the forecast? PAIN!" (This before every one of the 'monster climbs')
#2: (Also pre-Monster) "If you believe in any god or religion, I would start praying right now".
#3 (My personal favorite): "When are you going to shut the fuck up?"
I finished the ride elated, and maybe more than a bit surprised. And eternally grateful for Jill and her ready supply of cold drinks and encouragement. She's the one who told me to 'go for it' after Tim left me at a crossroads, without a clue which way to go. Once I was back on track, though, it was all over.
If finishing this ride weren't cool enough, Jill and Tim's neighbors were holding their annual block party/rib feast. We showed up just in time to grab a huge plate of food and down a few (many) beers.
Thanks to Jill and Tim for an amazing weekend! I love you two, and can't wait to see you in DVNP in February 2013!
(And GOOD LUCK, Tim, on your 3rd Furnace Creek 508 race. ROCK IT!!!)
Click here for all photos from this trip, on Flickr.