I wasn’t . . .
Normally a three race series, permit issues cut one race from the list and shortened another. However, 2 hill climbs was more than enough pressure on the TURTLE shell . . .
The series began with the “Belchenkönig” -- at 1414 m ( ~ 4640 ft), the Belchen is the third highest peak in the Schwarzwald. The original course called for a 10K race and 750m of climbing. It was cut short to 4.5K and about half the climbing. Again, that my friends was enough . . .
Determined to give it my best I arrived early, set up the trainer and pushed through my TEAM SKY TT Warm Up Protocol. I arrived at the line warm and ready for the effort. Unfortunately for me my poor German skills failed to recognize that a time delay was in effect. I stood for almost and hour waiting to start. Not good . . .
Yet being a social butterfly TURTLE I used the time to meet and greet my neighbors. Topping the list of new members of the TURTLE CREW is the ROCKSTAR Team Kai and Charlotte Becker. These two cats made both climbs on Tandems. The first one together and the second one with their equally ROCKSTAR 3 and 6 year old kids on Tandems. AWESOME!!!
But back to the rest of the story . . .
So after about an hour making friends and working on my TURTLE TAN, I started up “Der Belchen” like a rabid turtle. Fifteen second intervals on a hill climb are KOOL ‘n da GANG! You see the entire string of cats in front of you as little carrots requiring you to dig deeper into your hurt locker. I caught one, and then another, and then another . . . YES!!! I was on it. This was my day. I was catching more cats then were catching me. Who said TURTLE could climb?
Recall some poor soul decided to claim my Garmin 705 a few weeks back and thus I had no idea how far I was going or where the climb ended. There were no markings on the side of the road. So I just pushed on. I was feeling great on the bike . . .
I looked up a saw the road fork with equal accents up the mountain. I looked like I had another K or more to go. With my legs on fire I hit a serious steep section of the climb that I was ill prepared for. I started a backspin. Cats were passing me in waves. Where did they come from? Where were they all hiding? I was getting a mental smack down as each passed . . .
Belchenkönig -- Here they come!!!
The finish snuck up on me. No sprint, no fan fare, just one broken TURTLE in search of a piece of cake . . . YUM!!!
After a sugar rush, I took the time to increase my social network of fellow crazies and all was good and grand again. I was already planning my week to prepare for the second hill climb. I found the lost wheels, put them back on the little bus, repaired my broken legs and made my way home. One down, one to go . . .
Running up to the second TT in the series, the “Schauinslandkönig” -- Der Freiburger Schauinsland climb was almost picture perfect. The climb is the highest peak in the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) and was calling my name. I had a few good training rides and was ready for greatness. I was not tired but I felt trained . . .
Coach Quest (Eric Cole -- Dragon Quest Coaching) decided to join me on the drive down and the company was much appreciated. We were joined by LINK (Matt Gonzalez) and his family fresh off the Frankfurt Ironman in or convoy south. As I woke, I could feel a good day beginning . . .
Making a few final checks of my race info I quickly realized I misread the info and we were behind schedule. So after hooking up I lowered the pedal to the floor and made up 30 minutes of time. It was awesome!!!
Well, as awesome as it could get when your GPS sends you down a narrow dirt mountain road. We were a lost as one could be with four different GPS units reading four different locations and routes. After driving around and missing my start time, I was ready to bag the day. LINK and his crew were awesome sports. They took the misdirection in stride and just rolled with it. All were calm and collective. Coach Quest was the only think helping me keep it together. My start time was on display on my truck radio . . . UNKOOL!
But the cycling Angles would have nothing to do with me bagging the day. We made a few turns and lucked into the start area. I quickly sent LINK my location in a text and picked up my race packet. Unlike a licensed event, I was told I could start as soon as I got ready as each person was timed by a chip attached to their numbers . . .
I did 5 min of fast pedals and a few hard efforts and went to the line. Just about 500 meters into the start I saw a sign saying “12% grade.” I just about fell off my bike and cried. I should have spent 20 min doing a proper warm up. I was not ready for the road ahead. My goal of doing the climb in under an hour was starting to fade . . .
Laughing at Schauinslandkönig start
Yet the Cycling Angels once again showed me some love and got me over the first section. At this point I felt pretty good and was even able to grab a few teeth and push up the climb. Seeing markers and paint on the road counting down the Ks to the finish was motivating. I was back and making it happen. YES!!!
I caught up to TEAM Becker and used what little breath I had to give them all a shout out as I passed. Kia was on a Tandem with one daughter and their 8-year old making the climb alone. What a little stud! A true bikeROCKstar in the making. Charlotte was up the road a bit with their 3-year old. Seeing them motivated me and I grabbed more teeth to dig deeper . . .
I finished the climb in under an hour at 53 min and change. STRAVA has the #1 cat covering the same ground in 35 min. I have some work before I am allowed to dance with the king. I’ll used my time as a peasant a bit more wisely this fall with my eyes on the crown (or getting a little closer to the throne) next year . . .