I rarely have a case of the nerves before a ride, but this week, I find myself stricken with a strong case of nervousness as Saturday approaches. This weekend is PBP Step #4, the SIR 600K featuring the infamous Tahuya Hills and a grand total of 22500-odd feet of elevation gain (according to the over-estimating Delorme Topo USA). While I am happy that this is going to very closely simulate the PBP stretch from Loudeac to Brest, I am also jittery.
As my constant back of the pack finishes will attest, climbing and speed aren't my strengths, and I am extremely nervous about the upcoming ride. Especially, the prospect of tackling the Tahuya Hills after 450-odd K, and the possibility that I may not be able to sleep at all, if I am slow getting to Elma. I had the same jitters before last years 1000k, but somehow pulled through the tough second day, which featured Washington and Rainy Passes. However, that was after I had already completed the Olympic Peninsula 600, so I had a bunch more miles in my legs at that point. I take some solace in the fact that if I do run out of time on this ride, I can always do the "easier" Olympic Peninsula 600 or the OR 600. But, I would like to finish this ride, and qualify for PBP using this ride.
Preparation has consisted of doing a few hills, interval training on the Burke-Gilman, and 3 straight weeks of 130miles+ riding to work. I am taking the bus on Thursday and Friday to rest my legs. With a personal best of 36:42 for the 600 distance, a new Personal Worst for the 600K distance on Sunday night seems certain.
The quote ”We choose to do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”, comes to mind. Tough rides are like badges of honour, to be worn proud; a source of tall tales, to be told several years later, when none of the SIR folk are within earshot. ("I had to wrestle a wayward grizzly at 500K and pedalled the Tahuya hills with one leg and one arm"). I normally don't ask for brevet medals, but I shall certainly ask for one for this ride. If I do complete this ride, the medal will own a pride of place in my brevet memorabilia, next to the 1000k medal of last year.
Good luck, everyone. Here is to hoping that we can all walk on Monday and walk with our heads held high.