Riding up 16,500 Feet on Two Wheels

Average people spend Saturday sleeping in until 11AM, eating a long and lazy brunch, watching some TV, and playing Words with Friends on their iPhones until it's dinnertime. 

I spent my Saturday doing this: 

I call it Hell, but it's more formally known as the Diabolical Double, an epic 125-mile ride through Maryland that leaves your quads screaming for mercy and your mouth frothing because you're struggling to get up that f*@ing mountain!

I did the Diabolical Double last year to build up my endurance cycling miles for Ironman Lake Placid. This year, I planned to use the ride as a fun Saturday with my girlfriends - the only all-female team to enter the Gentlemen's Race. We were all so excited on race morning! 

Caroline, Sarah, Dawn and me ready to roll! 

This ride turned us inside-out. What a beater! 

Miles 0 - 19:

Whhheeeeee!!!! We bombed downhill then promptly started to ascend. Feeling good - my breakfast of bagels and bananas was the perfect fuel! The four of us rolled on together and were quite chipper at Aid Station 1, where we stuffed our mouths and pockets with gorp and cookies! 

Miles 19-40: 

Why are my legs already tired? 
Am I already out of gears? I'm not even 1/3 of the way through this ride and I feel this depleted...I'm screwed. 

AJ, Sarah and I slowed considerably as we struggled up each of those near-vertical lines. During these charity rides, you always meet great people and strike up conversations with strangers who you end up bonding with over cursing, sweat, and offering each other trail mix from a sweaty palm. 

There was a 10-year-old kid, apparently the US National Cycling champ in his age group, who ended up latching onto our trio. I have to admit, he was pretty impressive for such a young age. What I found most amusing was that he was drafting off of me. When I was going 4mph up Old Morgantown Road. 

Sarah later told me that The Kid hung onto my wheel for 20 miles. Oddly, my reaction was an excited "REALLY!?!?!" I found myself glowing with pride that someone actually found my wheel/speed attractive enough to draft off. 

No need to remind me that The Kid was 1/3 my age. 

Miles 40-58:

The dreaded Bowman and Killer Miller came. I was wheezing so hard that I'm convinced people from the base of the climb could hear me. One 60-year-old passed me as if he were out for a Sunday stroll and asked, "Are you doing alright?" with a concerned look on his face.
I just lifted my head up to acknowledge him and let gravity bring the drool from the corner of my mouth down to my handlebars. 
Yeah, man, I'm doing great.

Miles 58-84: 

From the elevation chart, this leg doesn't look that bad. 
What a naive fool you are. 

Both Blue Lick and Avilton are horrendous climbs, and then the descent into Westernport from Big Savage Mountain is a nightmare. I don't think I breathed the entire time I descended that last bit. I was braking so hard that my right hand cramped and I had to use my left hand to control my brakes.   

I also thought it my duty as the older, wiser 30-year-old to tell the younger, brash, 10-year-old that he should watch out for the descent into Westernport. I scared the crap outta him. Every time we turned a corner, The Kid asked, "Mandy (he never got my name right), is this the descent?" And I'd always say, "No, but it's coming soooooooonnnn." 

And then when it came, the poor Kid was so nervous. I'd told him to control his speed and not bomb down the hills like his dad was pushing him to. The poor lil' guy was descending at about 4mph, just a tad behind my 5mph descent. 
Hey, it's just that scary!!!!! 

Miles 84-101: 

I'm over this. Why did I do the Diabolical this year? DO NOT FUCKING AUTO-PAUSE you worthless Garmin, I'm doing the best I can and why isn't there a 12-48 cassette when you really need one!?!?!?! 

Let's just say this was not the prettiest side of Mindy that came out. Riding with AJ certainly helped to boost my mood, though!!! Caroline was miles ahead, as she's a pro at climbing hills, and Sarah and Dawn had - very smartly - taken the turn for the 100-mile route.

I ran into Greg Miele, who I'd met last year on this same ride! His legs are about my entire height. 

Miles 101-112: 

Oh, goody, more climbing. That's the theme of the day. My back was killing me and I was so jealous of everyone on their comfortable road bikes. I was riding my tri bike and my back couldn't decide whether to go numb or scream at me in pain. Increasingly, it was the latter. 

Which leads me to a side-story: Last week I had my road/commuter bike stolen from outside my office. I was so livid that I screamed at a nonexistent security camera and growled at the other commuters whose bikes were still perfectly intact. How a bike thief cuts through a U-lock and a cable through both tires in broad daylight at one of DC's busiest intersections is beyond me, but it happened. 
So I'm currently working with my insurance company (which has left my officemate supremely scared of every having to file an insurance claim; she has listened to my daily conversations and rants!) to get a replacement road bike. And hopefully I will never have to do the Diabolical Double on a tri bike again! 

Miles 112-125: 

Our last aid station had cold grapes and pizza. AJ and I were so ecstatic - we stuffed our faces with the wonderful calories and gleefully chatted with the ladies manning the aid station!
The last leg turned me into a different person. On a high from my grapes and pizza, I chatted non-stop with AJ until we hit Wisp. Then we started to climb. I probably looked miserable, but I felt awesome. One more mile and I would CONQUER this ride! 

Caroline was out for her brick run (LOVE this girl's work ethic!!!) and ran (she would say shuffled) alongside me as I climbed (I would say barely pedaled to keep from falling over) the last hill. And then I was done. 125 miles and 16,500 feet of climbing in the TRAINING TREASUREBOX!!!

AJ, Caroline, and I chatted with the other folks at the top of Wisp. I crushed some mac n' cheese and a pulled pork sandwich. Then Caroline and I drove down the mountain I had just suffered up, bought 3 pints of ice cream and some Magnum bars (we kind of have an addiction), and headed to the cabin to stink up the kitchen hang out with Sarah, Dawn, Bart, Mike, and Sarah's wonderful and welcoming family. 

What a blast of a weekend! 

Thanks to Team Fig Pizza: Sarah, Dawn, and Caroline for tackling these mountains together! 
and teammate AJ Morrison for riding those hills with me and keeping my spirits high! 
and Sarah's family for "hosting" us in a cabin for the weekend and having pizzas waiting when we returned from the ride! 
and Congrats to fellow teammates Bart and Sean for crushing the Diabolical Double as well! 

Also, a shout-out to all my teammates who competed in Rev3 Williamsburg this weekend...sounds like the swim was a beater!! 

The next morning, I went out for a long run with Bart. The other girls checked out of our cabin earlier and headed down to the lake for a refreshing swim. When I returned from my run, I almost dropped to my knees when I saw this: 

Caroline had left me the last pint for my post-run recovery fuel! 
What a wonderful group of friends I have! 

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