Mountains of Misery 2011

This year I decided to do Mountains of Misery instead of the IMBA Mountain Bike Festival, which I’ve done for the last five or six years over Memorial Day Weekend. A bunch of my PPTC friends do Mountains of Misery annually as one of their challenge rides. Mountains of Misery is not a race, but it is a timed event, so you get a chip and an official time. This year, they decided to do waves, so you didn’t know who you were going to end up riding with at the beginning of the event. Because this is a road event, to actually get a good time, you would need to be with a good group of people that you can draft with. Since this was my first time doing the event, I had no pressure on myself, so I could just enjoy it.

So we were the third wave of riders to go off, and I was in a huge line of drafting with Chris, Jonathan, and Rudy. There were some fools taking huge pulls for no apparent reasons, but I was like fine…if they’re willing to do that, I will just stay behind them. I didn’t waste much energy until finally we got to the big downhill. The downhill was a little sketchy because I had never done it, and I was with a pretty big group of people who weren’t always taking the best lines. Rudy had charged off to the front for what I thought was no apparent reason, but he knew the hill was coming so he got to the front so he could choose his lines and get down the mountain pretty quickly. After the downhill, there was a rest stop, which we passed, and at that point we got a good group of people I could see myself riding with for a lot of the day. We started doing some smaller country roads that had kind of stepped hills, which is more my kind of terrain, and I was gapping the group I was with.  I decided to pull back, though, and save my energy for the end.  

Rudy got a flat, so I said I’d wait for him since I had no time to beat from previous years. He fixed his tire, and the sag came by, which was great because I was able to refill my water bottles. Rudy was pretty pissed off since this took off about four to five minutes, which would be hard to make up. Once we got going again, we hooked up with three other guys and we were going along at a pretty good pace. Rudy was falling off the pace a little bit and waived us on. We started going downhill toward one of the big climbs of the ride. I decided to push it a little bit with the guys, staying with them until the base of the climb and then assuming everyone would do their own pace up it.

 John's Creek Mountain is actually a pretty good one for me, since it’s around three miles and varies in pitch. I pushed it up the climb and took a pit stop. I think this was crucial in my overall time, because since I had gotten the water from the sag wagon and brought my own food, I had not stopped at a rest stop and had an official break. The rest stop girl thought I was a little crazy because I was one of the only person to eat the pickles, but I have found that pickles do me right on this kind of event. I continued to then ride the next forty miles by myself. I think what helped me was having done the SM100 and other long-distance mountain bike races. Through them I learned to ride at a high pace even by myself.

The Hardest Climb I’ve Ever Done-Mountain Lake

Since I had my Garmin, I was could see I was doing consistent riding at pitches of 14 to 15 percent. The climb started off ok, although the heat was starting to get bad at around 90. It then just turned into a grudge match of me against my pedals. I kept thinking I was going to have to get off the bike and either push the bike or take a breather. There is a reason that this climb was in the old Tour DuPont—it really is pro-level. The people cheering from the roadside was great but also frustrating because I was going around 3 mph. I did love the wet towels on the neck—great relief. I finally got to the finish line happy to be done. The food afterwards was great, but I couldn’t eat too much having put out so much effort and just nibbled at a hamburger and had a Coke.

Final Note
I’m actually really proud of that ride considering my body weight(in the 190s) and how big the climb at the end was.

Ride Time: 6:07:46
2nd, Age35-39
17th Male
18th Overall