So today was our office bike race up Ilchester Road in Ellicott City. If you are unfamiliar with this road, the portion we "race" is about 9/10 of mile long with an average gradient of ~8%. It starts out at 18%, levels out a bit before pitching back up to 12%, and then leveling off to more sane gradients to the end. Why we torture ourselves with this is beyond me, but because we do I have decided to rename it the 4DG Challenge, or Four Dumb Guys Challenge.
The participants of this race are myself, Scott S., Bob M., and Mike F., co-workers of mine. The first two of this group are avid road cyclists; the latter two are avid mountain bikers. How this all began is a bit of mystery to me but from what I have gathered Bob said "Road bikers suck. Hulk Smash!" and in doing so challenged Scott to a race up Ilchester. I'm not sure how this venue was determined but I would like to kick one of them square in the nutsack for choosing it. Another uncertainty is how myself and Mike got dragged into this, something which undoubtedly also requires some nutsack kicking.
Before today we had done this race one time: October 4th 2009. On this fateful day we all suffered greatly and Bob, self-named 'The Destroyer', won with a time of 6 minutes 15 seconds. I was 27 seconds behind him and Scott was another 30 seconds behind me. Mike came in sometime before we were all ready to leave. In 2010 we could not agree on a date that would work for all of us and so the race didn't happen; no one shed a tear.
Enter 2011. Sometime a couple months ago we agreed ton June 4th at 9am. Almost as soon as we had firmed up the date, the smack talking began and did not let up until a couple of days ago...Thursday to be exact. Why Thursday, you might ask? Because Wednesday I went out to Ilchester and rode the hill; no one was impressed and my times were well below those of 2009. To my credit it was over 100F with the heat index and I had done a pretty hard ride the day before, but still my resolve and confidence were broken. I attempted to throw in the towel, asking my compatriots to allow me to bow out gracefully and without penalty (i.e. ridiculing) but they would not agree. So now I had two days to consider my fate, one which I was certain would not be good. At all.
Thursday I did an easy ride and Friday I rested. My plan for Saturday was to get to the be ready to ride at 8:30am so I could get in a nice 30 minute warmup. Unfortunately I was running late and only managed about 15 minutes of a mediocre warmup, and my legs, they did not feel good. We lined up and Mike counted down for the start. I will let the video below tell the rest of the story.
As a training note, I had new 1-minute and 5-minute power personal bests during this event. I also won a free Indian buffet lunch! Thanks to my compadres for pushing me to do my best.