One Thousand Feet, straight up. Well, it wasn’t exactly STRAIGHT up. But, when you factor the weight of the bikes, and the fact that the thousand feet came in about a quarter to a half a mile, then you have a very steep climb. This, my friends, was “The Great Equalizer”, “The Widow Maker”, “The Son of A Bitch!”
Being much lighter than his older brother, my younger brother was a ways ahead of me on the climb. He kept looking back, updating me on what was ahead. He kept encouraging me to keep going, and I did… But I was a little frustrated, as you can see…
I made a deal with God. If He got me over this climb, then I would give up Twinkies, and any junk food that comes out of a vending machine. That’s a heck of a promise, if you know me. Of course, I wasn’t going to be foolish enough to promise to give up cake. That’s crazy. But I can do without junk food in the form of processed candy (which are at least 30% fat by weight… Like me).
Still, at the top of the climb, I was feeling pretty spent. I had only had a modest breakfast before heading out to the park, so my sugar was probably low. The photographer, who took some great pictures you can see HERE, opened his backpack to reveal a bag of Chips Ahoy Cookies. The moment I put the first one in my mouth, Angels started singing. Remember my post about hunger? Yeah…
Thank you for the cookies, man! You really saved my life… Well, not really, but damn near close.
The rest of the race was also demanding, so much so that I forgot to take pictures. But here’s a rundown of what happened:
-The kid and I screamed our way to the bottom of the mountain we had just climbed, sometimes reaching 35 mph (as per my calculations).
-We did NOT skip checkpoint #7, like two teams did.
-We kayaked way better on the second leg of the kayaking… WAY better.
-We found checkpoint #10, so we did not have to take the 2hr time penalty, like a couple of teams did.
-We ate some cold pizza around checkpoint #11, like I wrote about. It really, truly was the best pizza ever.
-We reached the bikes again to finish the race (checkpoint #12), and my quads were cramping something awful.
-We finished strong, beating two teams, one solo, and about five teams and three solos that did not finish. Not bad for first-timers, huh?
I’d like to thank the folks at EX2 Adventure Racing, and Will Ramos Photography. And let’s not forget to thank my kid brother and that for being inspirations for this one fat guy (me) to attempt and complete this race…
“Done. Done. On to the next one. Done. I’m done, and I’m onto the next!” – Foo Fighters, All My Life
René F. Najera, DrPH
I'm a Doctor of Public Health, having studied at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
All opinions are my own and in no way represent anyone else or any of the organizations for which I work.
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