A Miserable Mountain Mama
Arrived in Monterey, to register and pick up the coveted T-shirt at 4:00pm. Of the 7 people in the parking lot at the time, 6 were from Ohio, Steve O, Dustin, Andrew C, Mark C & wife Beth and me. Arriving later were Flyin Tuna and long suffering husband Rod, Mark V, Denver Dan, Mike Murphy, Miya, Amanda, Franz, Ted M, Greg Dubois, Joe G, Kevin Swabb, Mark Waites, Mike Rea, Chuck L, Bob Stoll....I think that's everyone so 20 from central Ohio or 9% of the total cyclists at this event. Approximately 320 cyclists, unknown how many were doing the century. I think this is a fairly low turnout and I can't wonder if the fact the finish times are not posted deters some from attending? Several thousand come out for Mountains of Misery and similar rides.
I headed south to Warm Springs, a drive down a valley between mountain ridges so it's straight and fairly flat, all the way to the Inn at Gristmill Square. Neat place with restaurant and bar so can't beat that. I missed eating at one of the area's better restaurants last year so stopped at "John's Steak House" where I sat on the patio looking out over this scene and used the excuse of a high calorie burn the next day to eat lots and lots of food, dessert too!!!!
I showed up early the next morning intending to follow Ted M around and identify all the members of "The Others" who are rumored to attend this event. I figured I'd spot a secret handshake or head butting to signal a member was found. However, I could not find Ted and then whacked my forward, realizing this shadowy group would not ride with the masses on Saturday but instead would ride the route on Sunday. Later I did see Ted but he was probably just doing a double, 100 today and 100 on Sunday. Here, Flyin Tuna on the left, hubby Rod, Mark V on his Golden Jamie, Franz and Miya. This is Rod's annual opportunity to punch me for all the unflatteringly remarks I make about Cindy on this blog but in reality, I'm channeling Rod, saying things he wants to say but does not dare to. Rod is developing into quite the golfer, shooting a 33 on Thursday. Naturally, I could not let this pass without drawing on my extensive background of golf jokes, "Great Rod, that's a good score for 6 holes.", "Is that 33 with handicap?", "What was par on that course, 25?", "Were there any witnesses?" and "Did the pencil have an eraser?" Yuk, yuk, yuk.
I was going to roll out at 8:00, the official start time, but Cindy, Mark V, Andrew and Mark C wanted to depart at 7:45 so I shoved off with them. The first of 9 climbs begins immediately after the parking lot and it's not a bad idea to get up and over and avoid the mass of cyclists coming down the back side. Mark C told Cindy he would ride to support her and see that her average speed was above 15mph. What a guy, wanting to help a cycling buddy and I admired that. I found Cindy's mark of success, average speed, to be rather curious. Not total time but average speed...why not ride hard, take long and frequent breaks to recover or, sprint and stop every 10 minutes? That would keep the average speed up. Anyway, I was realistic that, with no rides of similar distance or climbing under my belt since March, except for the previous week's Ridge Runner ride at which I sucked, finishing was going to be a challenge. Therefore, I decided to ride slowly up the climbs, try to recover on the descents, limit my time at the food stops and just have enough in the tank to make it up the final climb and finish. Not an ambitious goal.
We headed up the first climb and soon Mark C left the gang and I followed. On the descent, we discussed if we should wait. I could tell Mark was conflicted but a stop light brought our gang together and we soon started up the 2nd climb. Mark pulled away from poor Cindy, to whom he had made a sacred oath that he would assist. I was shocked that this man of the cloth would so cavalierly abandon cycling friends and jettison his promise but then, since I was able to hang in there and selfishly had my own plans for using him, didn't give it too much thought. We traded pulls after the climb and reached a food stop, just before a long and nasty climb #3. I refilled, ate a peach, gobbled a GU and started up this 2.4 mile climb and the steepest on the route. Mark pulled away from me and I pleaded with him to wait, begged him, sought to appeal to his humanitarian side and all I got out of him was, "I'll just coast on the down hill so you can catch up." Oh that's rich, as if I'm going to hammer on the down hill to catch after climbing this beast. To be fair, I would not have waited either but I've always held Mark up to a much higher standard so was surprised by his behavior but was especially disappointed I was losing a drafting opportunity! There are so few cyclists participating, there is little group riding (drafting) going on. However, just as I turned south into a nasty head wind, here came a group of 7-8 that included Dustin, Steve and Mark Waites. What a break and I rode to the next rest stop with this group.
So, now I was at mile 48, with 4 climbs behind and 5 to go. My average speed was 19 and one can not help but extrapolate what the finish time would be but, I've done this ride enough times to know the next 50 miles is brutal. At the food stop, Kevin Swabb was having work performed to his bike. Later he staged for this with his authentic Italian jersey.
Leaving the 48 mile food stop, I jumped in with another group that included Mike Rea and a head turning woman with jersey zipped all the way down. I could not help but wonder what Poobah would do in this situation but figured I didn't want to end up in a ditch. We turned onto the infamous Snowy Mountain climb, a 5 mile leg buckler. I was in good shape at the top and thought, maybe I'm going to do better then I thought but noted too my average had dropped from 19 to 17, how sad. Around mile 61, I pulled into a market and drank a Monster. A couple of miles later I pulled into a food stop and consumed more, before starting up climb #6, officially 5 miles but the length of the entire climb is really 9 miles. When I reached the top of this one, my mood had changed and I cursed myself for not knowing the short cuts to get off this torture track.
About one mile from yet another well placed food stop, I remembered it was here, a year ago, where I spotted Joe G throwing up all over the ravine to the side. When I reached the food stop, who was there but Joe G again, what a coincidence and this time, sitting calmly and asking if I remembered last year's setting. He and Kevin S were encouraging me and asked me to join in as they departed but I needed time to decide if striking the sheriff, standing to the side, would get me a free ride into Monterey and anything other than an overnight stay in the jail. Soon, I shoved off, up climb #7, 3+ miles, a down hill and then immediately going up climb #8, only 1.7 miles to the top. Gawd, what a freakin grind and my speed was barely above the point at which lack of inertia forces the bike to fall over. Cramping was an issue, not the lock up kind but twinges in both legs, seeming to communicate to the brain, "What an idiot you are for putting us through this!"
The final rest stop at the bottom of the final climb, just under 2 miles to the top. A mule pulling a heavy plow would have zoomed by me on the way up but I made it to the top, coasted to the bottom, cleaned up and headed out of town.
On the way out, I passed Mark V, then Tuna, then Andrew, later passed an unsmiling Greg D and Ted M powering up the final climb, Amanda and Mike starting up climb #8, then Miya, then Dan coming down climb #7 and for the first time, drove straight through to home, arriving at 10:00pm. Note to self: Let's not think about doing this again unless I prepare for it.
8/6/2012 03:40:15 am
By the way, so absorbed was I in recounting my own agony, I forgot to mention that Dustin finished 2nd and Steve O 3rd, with a time just over 6 hours.
8/6/2012 04:06:33 am
I heard that Mark Waites finished first; GO OHIO.
8/6/2012 05:53:06 am
I can confirm that Mark Waites finished first with a time of 5 hours 40minutes or something crazy like that as I heard this from our group members. But then again I didn't think this was a race...Did you notice they took off "momma's gonna whip your butt" from the tshirts? My average sucked, only 13.5 mph!! But I had a ton of fun.
8/6/2012 07:16:52 am
You go to Mountain Mamma for the big climbs and they have 8 of them (one little climb). Only 6 Gap and Garret can match this for the eastern mountain climbs where you return to the starting point The rest you pay plenty for a bus ride back to the start. Mark had such a miserable day finishing, showering, and driving away before fellow Columbus OH folks Jimmy, Jason, Cindy, Andrew, Mark, Greg, Ted, Chuck, Amanda, Franz, Myra, Dan, myself and others even got to the finish. Really with a pathetic performance like this, he must be embarrassed to even show up at the local rides.
8/6/2012 08:56:56 am
Wait a minute. How do you know I took a shower? I did not say that. Were you spying on me though the keyhole? You sir should be embarrassed and no, I have no shame so have no problem showing up for the local rides.
8/6/2012 08:07:25 am
Mark W failed to mention how he ditched me at the first food stop and then I had to work like a dog to catch him on Hoover Mtn. Game on buddy. Finished with a total time of 6:30 and 6:07 riding time. Was a fun day on the bike.
8/6/2012 09:01:15 am
Game on? You see competition where none exists. Leaving poor Cindy in the dust after 1/4 mile and after promising you would help her. People will not take note nor long remember your time but they will remember forever your, as Wiggo put it, "uncouth" behavior. Shame on you for getting her hopes up like that only to immediately dash them. I'm reporting you to the congregation.
8/6/2012 10:12:52 am
It is a little curious that Pastor Mark blames Blogger Mark for abandoning Cindy & Co. Is this called Passing the buck? Also, only 23 minutes for breaks, yes, that sounds like a fun tour.
8/6/2012 09:04:24 am
Who is this Mark Waites? I don't see him at Wednesday Worlds, Thursday New Albany, Tuesday Canal, Saturday Jon Morgan ride or any COP ride. I looked up his name and did not see him enter or finish any races. What, is he just riding alone and shows up to whip this, cough, cough elite field? I don't buy it. Who really came in first?
8/7/2012 04:18:01 am
a friend of mine says he is a sometimes regular who rides with the group Joe and Ted ride with, so they would know more. My friend only rode with Mark once.
8/6/2012 10:40:37 am
I knew I should have come. I'd a kicked everyone's ass by having my driver pick me up and deposit me at the top of the last climb. Next year.
I rode with Super Girl once again...
8/6/2012 01:41:47 pm
As a first-timer on this ride, I thought it was great and I would drive back and do it again! The climbs were great (not too steep, just long grinders), the descents were fantastic (not too much braking needed), the roads were great, and the food stops were good. I rode it as a tour as best as possible, and not a time trial as others appeared to do. On the very first climb, Mark C set a blistering pace that only Mark W could match, leaving me, Cindy, and Mark V behind. It was only the luck of a construction control light that allowed us to regroup for the 2nd climb. As I led up the 2nd climb at a moderate pace, you would have thought that I had taken Mark C's dearest, most favorite bone that he had treasured for years. He turned into a greyhound with a mad dog look, baring fangs and chased after his prized bone, snatching it from me as he bounded by me, bolting up to the top of the climb, never to be seen by me again. Mark W followed after him with his dog catcher hat on, apparently paying for it later. When I got to the first food stop, my buddies Cindy and Mark V had abandoned me. Since it's a full-service tour, I like to stop and get my money's worth, and I needed to eat since I had a small breakfast. With me now all alone, and no one to pressure me to ride faster, I went into full touring pace mood, enjoying the ride for what it was worth. I found Chuck L and Charlie at the 2nd stop and later caught Chuck L on the 3rd climb and rode with him until almost the 3rd stop, which is almost halfway through. Previous tour riders had warned me the 2nd half of the ride was much tougher than the first half. Not to worry, as I had the training for it. On the climb after the 3rd stop, my stomach was hurting from not completely digesting my food and trying to ride up at a decent pace. Why don't they put food stops at the top of the climbs and let you eat and digest your food on the decents? I eventually found Cindy and Mark V at 'The Market', apparently the place to stop and get a Mt Dew before taking on the next climb. I rolled on to the rest stop and they both went through quickly topping off their water bottles. I caught them both at the top of the climb, with Mark V struggling to get rid of some cramps. It was there that Cindy became Super Girl and I grabbed onto her cape as she pulled me down the descent. In her unselfish, altruistic nature, she let me ride the rest of the ride with her, becoming the wind beneath my wings on the last 3 climbs and flying down the descents, with me again holding onto her cape as she occassionally braked on the tight corners to allow safe passage down the thrilling vortexes. Mark V dug deep and made one last-ditch effort on the last climb to be awarded the polka dot jersey on climb #9 when he left us behind. It was a great finish and I was ecstatic at what fun the ride was. I was not very tired, probably due to my 14.5 mph touring average. If you have not done this ride yet, do yourself a favor and try it one year. As long as you have your training in, you will thoroughly enjoy it. Unless of course, you take Mark C's bone.....8)
8/6/2012 11:47:26 pm
I agree, life is too short to not take in the beautiful scenery on this ride. This is the reason that RAIN posts times and everyone tries to finish within 8-9 hours, and with MM you don't have times listed. On RAIN you also don't have much to look at, other than the road. And with MM the money goes to county improvements (did anyone else use the nice trail from the school to the town? I sure did!) I'm glad you had fun your first time on this ride. It has come a long way.
8/7/2012 12:05:34 am
First of all, Mark C did not promise to help me on this ride. I just mentioned that I had a goal average (which he upped considerably). I didn't meet either goals, so that's my fault. Mt. Mama is a beautiful ride and you should ride it as you want; fast or slow. It's up to the rider. Everyone has different reasons for riding, and should enjoy it however they choose to do it. Enjoyed riding with both Mark V and Andrew, thanks for the company! Next year, same place.
Mark V, Andrew & Mark W
8/7/2012 12:41:42 am
That's not the way we remember it Cindy. He made a solemn promise, practically a blood oath to support us. If what you say is true then why did you rib him so much after the ride for leaving you?
8/7/2012 02:26:43 am
The only thing accurate about Wilson's account of the ride was how much he whined! I now see three reasons everyone calls him Houdini: 1. He disappears when finding shortcuts, 2. He disappears at food stops, 3. He disappears when you drop him!
8/7/2012 03:23:11 am
Why Mark, I am surprised, tthere you go attacking me yet again, again deflecting attention from your failure to live up to your promise to poor little Cindy. I bet at Halloween you're the type who places candy in an innocent childs bag and then yanks the candy out by the string you have tied to the candy. Go ahead, hurl more insults at me. I believe this is the ad hominem approach to defending one self. Lastly, I also stand by everything in that report. It is 100% accurate and you know it.
8/7/2012 04:54:36 am
I want more pictures of the head turning woman with jersey zipped all the way down, preferably from the front
8/7/2012 06:05:23 am
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