Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Mt. Graham Experience

Officially, I am still a triathlete. But, every once and a while, I expand my horizons to include running races and cycling races.
The Mt. Graham Hill Climb - AZ State championship climbing race fell 8 weeks out from my goal race, IM AZ. I figured, "I love climbing, I love racing, I need a good workout that day... fits perfectly!" So on the schedule it went.
While this mountain in only 2 hours away, I had not had the chance to check it out.
I knew it was tougher than Mt. Lemmon, and gorgeous.
My coach told me it would hurt, a lot. I believed him as he isn't one to lie about pain. I was expecting it to do a little more than tickle.... close to 6000ft of climbing between 7 - 9% grade and ending at 9000ft. yep, painful. game on!

The first kilometer looked like this:

Now, I wasnt wearing a HR monitor, or a PM, but I knew I was in over my head within the first mile. So I pulled back --- way back. I didnt get in a super long warm up and was planning on taking the first 5 miles ez.... wanted to do the race in 2 hours and figured the first 30 minutes should be conservative. I knew even though I was being passed, I was still pushing way over 200 watts (you just know after using it over and over again on a mountain). I got to mile 5 in just over 25 minutes and suprise suprise, my legs were toast. I'd never done a 2 hour TT before and I was now understanding why.... I slowed down more, took 2 gels and by the time I hit the 7 mile mark I was picking it up and picking off girls.

I was having a hard time sitting and needed to stand most of the race (seriously, like half of it). Coach said my sit muscles were sore from the speed work a few days earlier. What ever it was from caused me to get the worst adductor charlie horse at mile 16. Crippling. I was afraid to get off my bike (wouldnt have started again) so I just did this weird stretching while pedaling move that must have looked incredibly rediculous, but it did the job.
I ended up finishing the race strong, totally exhausted, in total muscle failure, in 1:58 and 4th female overall.
The ride back down was a lot less fun than Mt. Lemmon, as you had to negotiate the same switchbacks that took you so long to ascend.
view from the top:

Tucson girls that like to kick ass:

switchback ouch

switchback o rama

1 comment:

IronLa said...

Nuts! Dem are some freaky switchbacks.
Congrats on the placing!