A few years ago I observed my four year old grandson, Scott, coloring in a coloring book. I told him what a great job he was doing and asked him if he was going to be an artist when he grew up. He responded by saying; “No grandpa, when I grow up I want to be a superhero just like you.” Well Scott is eleven now and my guess is he has figured out that I’m no superhero. If he hasn’t, when I tell him about my Cherry Roubaix Race he will know it for sure.
The weather was absolutely beautiful on race day. I was looking for a near perfect start to go with the near perfect weather. Earlier in the year when I raced at the Tour De Frankenmuth I had missed the first break and I was determined to not let this happen again.
This race was adjusted from 46.6 miles long with plenty of hills down to 43.5 miles with plenty of hills . Since I have only been at this for about a year and half this still represents a long race for me. I knew going in that I would somehow have to conserve energy while still attempting to not get dropped.
I believed myself to be fairly decent at hill riding. I had no plans to respond to any small breaks, hoping things would stay together fairly well until the end and hope that I would have enough left for my patented (in my mind) finishing kick.
I got off to a good clean start this time and while I wasn’t as close to the front as I wanted to be we were together as a group. Things were going O.K. for the first five miles or so. Then we hit the long uphill climb on Schomberg Road and I found out that I’m nearly as good a climber as I thought. I got dropped by the lead group, but fell in with three other guys as we negotiated the first turn around the course. The race was two laps of 21.73 miles.
About 30 miles into the race the wheels started falling off for me. I shifted down on the uphill on Dufek Road only have my chain pop off. Unfortunately, it also wedged against my frame locking up my rear wheel and down I went in heap alongside the road. It took me a good five minutes to get it undone and the chain back on. But more importantly I no longer had any riding partners and had to ride solo for the last 13-14 miles.
Then things got worse. With about three long, hard, hills to go I was shot. By the time I reached the top of the climb on that first hill my lungs felt like they were filled with hot molten lava, my heart felt like it was going to jump out of my chest and every fiber of my being was crying out for me to quit.
I didn’t quit, but I came close. Part way up the next to last hill on Norlock Road I said to my self “I think you can make it to the top, but you’ll have nothing left for the last big hill on Mountain Drive”. So I did something I’ve never done before, I walked up a portion of the hill.
Then things got even worse. About halfway up the hill on Mountain Drive (lined with spectators) both my thighs cramped up on me and I was forced to get off the bike again. I hobbled along for a couple hundred yards until the cramps subsided and got back on the bike. I turned for the final stretch thinking I would give the last 3/4 mile everything I had left. Unfortunately, my left thigh and calf started cramping again. So I was forced to back off on anything I had left and my patented (in my mind) finishing kick brought me across the finish line at the breathtaking speed of 15 mph.
When I had attempted to summon my Scottie superpowers, there was nothing there. However, to say that my age was the reason for my failure would be an excuse. The reason I wasn’t successful was because I didn’t have the proper amount of training to handle the long uphill climbs. Next year will be different.