Sure, a better analysis of the course profile and better examination of the huge time gaps between finishers in past results would have told me that EC is not a bike race. It's an endurance event. Instead, I thought, "I can climb with the best of them." Them, of course, being past winners of the event. And so, with very little EC training, me, my parents, Denise and Ryder drove up to Bishop, and I gave it a go.
My goal was to finish until we hit the base of the first climb, and because I think I can climb with the best of them, my goal turned into winning. Ironically, that's when all of the steep and long ascents of EC came descending down on me. If I remember correctly, I was the second to crumble in our 8-man break. I wrote a check with funds from my mind that my body couldn't cash. The oddity, for me anyway, is that the final nail in the coffin was cramping and after five-and-half hours and 90-some miles, I pulled a Petachi. Within 10 uphill kilometers of the finish, and I couldn't close the deal. As I rigidly climbed into the Freeman team car, I was careful not to shut my tail in the door.
I got over the disappointment quick. Especially after we drove day two's final 20-mile climb and instead of cheering spectators lining the course, it was snow. Epic roads and epic scenary don't always make for epic bike racing. I'm not discrediting those who finish because it's an incredible feat, especially for the headstrong that take upwards of 8 hours to finish the first day and then wake up to ride again. I'm just saying that it took failing for me to discover that Everest Challenge isn't my Everest. And finishing it isn't enough for me either. To do it right; to actually have a chance at winning, I think I'd have to dedicate about two months to EC. There's just too much fun stuff to do on a bike other than train for a single two-day event. Life's too short for that shit.
Now the good stuff:
Wake up sleepy kid! It's 6 o'clock in the morning and it's time to go follow Daddy up and down the Sierra Nevadas for hours on end from the back of Jeep Wrangler. Bring Mickey and your dog without a name. They can suffer too.
The silver lining was the scenery.
Ryder's luck continued throughout the weekend when my parents treated him to a visit to a choo-choo train museum and to dinner at Whiskey Creek on Saturday night. I think he had steak.
It was a pretty good weekend and awfully nice of my parents to spend it with us.