02 June 2010

RACC = Felida & Trail Putty

Apologies for neglecting the blog lately.  It's been a very busy time. 
01 May 2010 - RACC
After the Salem Monster Cookie, we did another organized ride.  The Ride Around Clark County (RACC) is put on by the Vancouver Bicycle Club (Washington, not BC) each year and the one thing I heard about it from the start was how much everyone hates Felida.  This is a hill that comes about 60 miles into the 65 mile ride in the Felida suburb.  Joy.  We actually started this ride on time at 8am.  A first for our group.  There wasn't a specific starting time, all riders just had to be started by 9am.  We always plan to start at 8am, but this was the first time it actually happened.  It was a wet day, sprinkling on us off and on throughout the ride.  The first part of the ride covered familiar territory as it took us out and around Lacamas Lake where we had ridden before.  From there, we headed north up through Hockinson.  This is more rural area on the outskirts of Vancouver's suburbia had a few climbs.  Not terrible, but enough to make me think, "If nobody mentioned these, just how bad is Felida?" 
We came into Battle Ground from the southeast and found ourselves at the 65-mile/100-mile split at Battle Ground Lake.  They offer a century route for this ride, but no, I certainly wasn't ready for that.  I went left and headed through the town of Battle Ground.  We wound through and headed to Daybreak Park.  When we lived in Battle Ground, we came to find that Daybreak was a popular swimming hole spot in the river and where a LOT of people hung out.  With the rainy weather, though, it didn't seem so popular that day.  This was a food stop and about 40 miles into the ride.  I was feeling okay and really just wanted to get going and get the ride over with.  I was familiar with the road out of this park and I knew we had a climb ahead of us.  I ate a few quarters of a PB&J sandwich, some boiled potatoes because someone was telling me how they are great for quick energy, and the trail putty.  This ride is apparently known for two things: Felida and trail putty.  Trail putty is a mixture of peanut butter, honey, and powdered milk.  Everyone loves it.  Me...not so much.  I found it too sweet, but hey - to each his own.
I climbed out of the Daybreak Park area, heading west for quite a while.  A few rollers after the initial climb kept me working and I became increasingly worried about Felida.  As we turned south, I kept watching my bike computer, looking at how much further until we hit it.  I was feeling very tired around 55 miles...not a good thing.  I starting thinking there must be a way around this hill.  Can I just take a side street and avoid Felida?  I'm sure I can.  Yes, that's what I'll do.  Screw it.  I don't have to do that hill.  And then it was there.  All these other cyclists out there...I couldn't possibly turn off, no, no, I was going to climb.  Halfway up, as my heart was coming out of my chest, there was a side street that I noticed a lot of people just turning onto for a flat break.  So, of course, I should check it out.  It helped.  I turned onto it and let my heart rate come down and then I got a bit more speed and higher cadence going coming off of it to help me up the rest of the hill.  I asked another cyclist, "so this is Felida?" "Yep, this is it."  I got to the top and was so relieve that it was done.  I pulled off to let the heart rate come down just a bit again.  I had met up with Jen and Stella from my group and we talked about what a relief it was that it was done.  Then some cyclist passing by said, "Oh no, the climb isn't done - this was the ridge, you still have the hill."  Liar.  I just knew he must be a liar.  What a cruel thing to lie about, too.  We asked another cyclist and they said that was it.  We continued on, but we were all wondering - who should we believe?  About a mile and a half down the road, we didn't need to wonder any more.  A left turn onto a nice steep hill left no time to wonder and had us all out of the saddle and changing gears about as fast as we could.  There were some people walking up it on the other side of the road.  The left turn didn't allow much prep for the hill and if you had to wait for traffic before turning, it was even harder.  What's worse is that the road curves, so you can't even see where the top of the hill is.  I hate that.  At least let me see where it ends.  Mind you, this wasn't a very long climb, just steep.  I made little goals - make it to that tree, then that post, then...oh, oh...I see the top...I yelled at Stella, "the top is right there!" because, somehow, announcing it makes it even better (Jen was already ahead of us - Go Jen!).  We were there.  Done.  No more climbing.  And I hadn't cheated the hills.  The last few miles of the ride were flat, just winding back around through Vancouver proper to make our way back to Clark College where we started.  At the intersections we faced coming out of the neighborhoods, there were a few elderly couples that sat at the corners and as they saw cyclists coming, they pushed the crosswalk button.  They were so adorable and we were very grateful.  As we pulled back into the parking lot, I headed straight for my car to get off the bike.  I was spent.  Every bit of me was out there on those Clark County roads.  I wanted to go home.  And that's just what I did.

1 comment:

  1. Aloha Heather Marie!!!
    First, I must say that it will bring much sadness to not have your blog to look forward to...I totally enjoy reading your updates and just about every read I am in tears from laughing so hard!!!
    However, the big day you have planned for, worked for, stressed for, sweated for, been sore for has arrived...we wish you excellent health, cool nerves, strong body, a sense of humor, and most of all courage...you have worked hard and we are so incredibly proud of you!!