Wednesday, July 6, 2011

(Ladies) Rockwell Relay Training Ride: Team Over the Hill

Team 'Over the Hill' (the 'over 40' team of Red Rider & La Canadienne)

That's right. It's Rockwell Relay Redux. Think back to the Roller City skate nights from your middle school years. The DJ just dimmed the lights, cued up the disco ball and called a "Ladies Only!" skate. All guys on wheels clear the floor and let the ladies ride solo. Rodzilla and I will actually be riding support crew for the event they like to call 'Rockwell Relay Pamperfest' a name which has had La Canadienne (and Red Rider, Swedish Liz & the Female version of Racer X ... on this occasion Melissa* she of the many triathlons and marathons and 32min 30 second Suncrest ascent) bristling. In fact La Canadienne tells me I'm not allowed to call it that.

*No Photo available, I'm sure that will change this weekend

She has a point:

Elevation Overview
If there was one thing we learned from our own Rockwell experience it was to regard with a jaundiced eye the benign appearing elevation map. Those innocent looking bumps and blips, those gradual grades, those topographic hiccups are bound to translate into sweat and not a few tears (one can only hope no blood will be shed) for the riders of the deceptively named 'Pamperfest'.

For two-lady teams each team member is responsible for 80+ miles and more than 4000 feet of climb. The race starts at a ski resort in Ogden and ends 163 miles (about 270 km for our neighbours to the north) later in Provo. One rider in the saddle at all times. Hardly sound likes pampering to me. They do offer back rubs, pedicures and chocolate fountains at the rest stops but only one of those three sounds like a service that a rider in the middle of a bike race would care to engage in. Swedish Matt (support crew for Team 'What the Hill?') figures he'll take advantage of the back rubs and pedis while waiting for his wife to finish her leg. Watching him try to pull that off* may be the highlight of the day.

*See Rodzilla Rides the Goldilocks All Lady Ride (Training Ride with the Ladies blog entry) for a preview of what's in store for Swedish Matt
The race takes place this Saturday so yesterday (Independence Day) was one of the last opportunities for the ladies to get in some hill training. We (Team Over the Hill and support crew) met up at Rodzilla's

loaded the horses* in the Titan (official support vehicle of our portion of the Rockwell relay) and headed for higher ground. On this occasion the higher ground would be Emigration Canyon and points west.

New bike, same attitude. Not even a world class racing frame and deep dish carbon fiber wheels can change the fact that it's 6:30 in the AM and La Canadienne is not in bed. She'll warm up, eventually, just don't get too close for a little while. Also, meet our neighborhood plumber; Glenn (Hi Glenn!)

*New horse in the stable: La Canadienne's yet to be officially christened Cannondale 6/13. watch for future blog entry 'Riders and Their Horses'

We drove to Foothill Blvd, took advantage of the traffic barricade set up for some race for non-cyclists and went past Hogle Zoo and up Emigration canyon.

I broke away with plans to summit little mountain and circle back and cover the last few miles with Team Over the Hill. Apparently while I was gone La Canadienne went all Swedish Matt on us and had not one but two flat tires Thanks 'Zilla for a) staying with the team and b) bringing two [actually three] replacement tubes. I owe you (more than tubes).

I see I missed a phone call from La Canadienne and when I return it she answers and yells "Two!" and then hangs up. (it's possible the call was dropped in the canyon but that doesn't make for good blog reading so I'll stick with my first assertion ... watch the tape and judge for yourself:)

The plan was to ride the remainder of the canyon to the top together, but Rodzilla takes us on a detour,
I'm assuming to make sure I'm not the only one in the dog house (see, more than tubes, much more).
Red Rider on the summit.

and eventually we meet at the top of Little Mountain:

Rodzilla and Red Rider have family obligations so they peal off and head back to the truck but with a little prodding from Rodzilla, La Canadienne and I head off for Big Mountain and the Salt Lake County line. It's a cool overcast July day, a little muggy but otherwise perfect weather. You've got to take advantage of conditions like that. La Canadienne has been feeling lousy for about a week but she tells me if we take it slow she thinks she'll do OK.

Climbing Big Mountain. Yeah, somehow we will end on top of that.

She does far better than OK. The new mount she's riding makes a huge difference. The Cannondale is lighter than the Fuji but also much more responsive

La Canadienne can't get over how the Reynolds wheels smooth out the bumps and how when pushed, the frame responds instantly and aggressively to input from the pedals:

" times it almost felt like there was someone back there pushing me when I pedaled hard." -La Canadienne

Welcome to the elite club of world class racing bikes. Your world will never be the same. My guess is Red Rider and Swedish Liz are going to require similar rides sooner rather than later.

On the Summit of Big Mountain. My original plan was ride down the other side and out to Morgan and back. That will have to wait for another ride. We've both had our share of climbing for one day.

Somewhere 20 miles away and 3500 feet below is Foothill Blvd and the place where we started.

Rodzilla & Red Rider are long gone by now so we make the descent and then do the extra 25 miles back to West Jordan. There's very little wind and the temperature is still on the mild (if humid) side. All in all a great day and a great ride.

It's unlikely that either member of team Over the Hill will hit anything as intense as the hills they've conquered today in their unpcoming race. So now it's just a question of endurance and conquering the mental battle. We'll be sure to document the event thoroughly and keep you all posted.

talk/blog soon,


1 comment:

  1. Yeah, I'm having problems with my helmet. (I've been told it looks like I'm wearing a beret.) Don't worry... I have a new one. I'm wearing it this very minute. (Really.) I'm looking forward to Rockwell (there will be no pampering). Mostly I'm looking forward to Five Guys after Rockwell.