Here is how the bike race went down (or should I say up?):
Matt is behind me giving me encouragement up the last final incline...ugg.
I mean up this final incline...double ugg.
And the final incline...triple ugg.
My goals were to not finish last and to not fall over on my brother's wife's $6000 bike. That was accomplished but didn't come easy.
Moments before the race, the director warned of a mother bear and two cubs on the road ahead. I am thinking, "great, I will most likely be in the rear and get eaten." My brother had gone to the front (he has the course record, and needed to make sure he kept it). It was about then that I looked down at my handle barsand front tire and realized they were not aligned. I quickly turned them to straighten them. It was then I began to be a bit freaked out with worry this might indeed cause a problem. They started the race. My brother rode back to me to give me his final "good luck." I told him about my handle bars. He say, "Oh crap, I forgot to tighten them. Quick. Stop here at Tiffanie's car (his wife) and see if she has an allen wrench." I wished him well (and told him to not let anyone beat him or his record) and off he went. Tiffanie didn't have a wrench but luckily a car behind her did. They tightened the bar and I was off, losing exactly 2:25 from the pack plus any drafting I might have gotten.
I was alone for the first 10 minutes before I saw my the first rider (luckily, I didn't see any hungry bears). I slowly began my attempt at closing in. I finally did...whew! Tiffanie kept giving me splits of the riders ahead...2 girls; one 1 minute and the other 2 minutes ahead. 30 mintues in, I finally caught girl number 1. We were climbing at 20% grade and I just wanted to stop and take a breather. My heart rate was in the high 180's. But I wasn't sure I could start moving again with that type of incline. I pumped passed the girl (at top speeds of 5 mph) and pressed on.
I could not believe this climb and more crazy was the fact I was actually continueing to move forward rather than sliding back down the mountain.
My brother (after winning the race), came and rode the final 5 minutes with me (pain and suffering). On the final moments he told me that "Novakovich's (my maiden name) can take pain." I was thinking...no they can't. And then I thought of Jamie's (one of my running/biking buddies in VA) great advice, "Heather, remember that cast will be on your foot next week and you won't be doing anything for 6 weeks." I kicked it into high gear (now going 6 mph...ha) and my brother then said, "Heather, you do you realize you have some more gears you can use?" What?! He then pushed my back so I could get my gear in proper placement and I finished...barely.
You can see in the final two pictures that I actually came to a complete stop like two feet from the finish...I couldn't go any further! Take a look at that blasted mountain we had to ride a bike up...I suffered but at least did it with a nice view.
Stats: 2225 elevation climb
Total miles: 9:30
Total time: 56 minutes (Matt finished around 36)
Average speed: 9.9 mph
Max speed: 30.8
Avg Heart rate: 172
Max Heart rate: 192
I placed fourth from last....I have now been told that this is the hardest climb race they have here...thanks a lot!