August 26, 2006
Today I thought a lot about the law of gravity. After a slightly stressful morning with my dog attacking my cousin’s 13-year-old dog, Kathryn and I headed up to Penticton. Our mission: to check out the bike course. I was told by a friend of mine who grew up in Penticton that the bike course was brutal, but I only half-believed him because often people who don’t bike like I do overestimate the difficulty of many biking extravaganzas. However, in this case, it is true.
Richter’s pass is a big one. I’ve biked in the Rockies before and have bike passes with a loaded bike. However, I know that the experience that I’m going to have one year from now will be very different. In the beginning-middle of an already fairly difficult bike course isa difficult 50km consisting of a pass and many ups and downs after that. I couldn’t help but be brought back to my first-year physics class where we learned the law of gravity: what goes up, must come down. It seemed so easy then – a simple law that Newton came up with because an apple fell on his head. However, I’m not sure he would have been so quick to make that law had he biked Richeter’s pass… and the 30km after that. This is not Sunday evening bike ride material. We’re talking hardcore. We’re talking major hills. We’re talking going up at 10km/hr (I wasn’t really warmed up) and flying down at 55km/hr (not pedaling because a) I was scared shitless and b) I was tired after going uphill for 10km). The law of gravity seemed ridiculous to me at this point, but I could have just been dizzy from the altitude too.
As for me, I was pretty stressed today. I mean, I can’t help but wonder if I can actually do this. Physically. It is not uncommon for someone to not finish… not only that, but to endure serious health problems along the way. I hope that watching the race tomorrow will inspire me a lot. So I was feeling really stressed out about the whole thing, but after I got on my bike and started pedalling, things felt okay. Even if I was going up a huge-ass hill. I mean, I’m fairly certain that I can finish it and I think that if I work really hard I can do it in 12 hours (ahem… make that 13). That’s a realistic goal for me. Hopefully I’ll get a coach and it’ll all be good.
When we got home from the bike ride, I felt a sharp pain in my lower back. I haven’t had it feel like that since I threw it out playing volleyball in grade 12, almost 10 years ago. When I originally injured it, I literally couldn’t move from the court and they had to drag me off using a gym mat. I could hardly walk for 2 weeks and went to the chiro for 3 months once a week. Hopefully this is not that situation. I’m pretty sure it’s from sitting in a car for 14 hours, being slightly stressed out, and then getting out and without a good warm-up, biking up a fairly significant hill, and then getting back into the car. When I think about it, it seems like a really dumb thing to do. Oh well, live and learn.
On the bike ride, it felt like I got a sneak preview of the route. All the way up the pass were various chalkings from people there to cheer on the athletes. There were signs saying “Go Mighty Mouse Go!” all along the bike route. It was really cool to see the course the day before the athletes competing would, like I was making sure the course was good enough for the 2300 people competing the next day. I am excited to see the race tomorrow, and to sign up for next year!