The race that wasn’t (a.k.a. Humble Pie)
Today was the last race of the season. Due to various reasons, I wasn’t able to go. Man, I have been on such a roller coaster of emotions about it all week. I really need a chill pill, bad.
My mind and heart are far from done as far as the season goes, but the legs have really given out. I set out this afternoon with the intention of wielding a season’s worth of training against the enemy of Lookout Mountain. I was going to take out all of my frustration on that hill and smash my best time. Therefore proving to myself that I was justified in being so down about missing out on the race. Because, I coulda won.
I found myself with company a couple of miles before reaching the base of the climb. I wasn’t sure who it was, but he kept on my wheel and was always in my way when I turned my head to check for traffic before a left turn, etc. I was in no mood for introductions.
Perfect, I thought. You wanna stay with me?!? Just wait.
I kept things nice and steady up the first part of the climb (my ‘start line’ is a little ways up). This joker was riding right off my left hip, not giving an inch. I was licking my chops as the start line approached, as far as he knew – he was thinking the situation was under control. Boy, was I going to FLY once I crossed that line.
BOOM! We crossed the line, I dropped about 4 gears and took off at a hard-charging 17mph. I felt reasonable, and kept my speed pretty high. Also taking notice that my company was still there. I surged. Still there, on my wheel. I plowed through the switchbacks. Still there. Trying to keep my cool, I figured I had better settle down and went into maintenance mode. He finally came around me, but I had no answer. Turns out to be some scrawny teenage kid. Crap. That chip on my shoulder was getting mighty heavy now…
Ok, I thought. Keep him in sight and slowly come back. I did pretty good at this for a couple of miles, hanging 20 seconds or so behind. Then the final switchbacks came, and he was GONE. I felt like turning around, but kept going. My speed up the first 2/3 of the climb had been right around record-pace. Now I was completely coming apart. Cold chills again. Body rebelling, legs laughing at me. Cussing myself for being such a jerk.
I crossed the line in 24:26. Pretty much my slowest time of the year. It was hard to breathe with all of that humble pie shoved down my throat. I felt totally lifeless and limped the 30 miles back home. I’m ready for a break…