Thursday, May 6, 2010

No Worries, Mon!

Adopting the Caribbean mantra 'no worries, mon' was the most important thing I did for this race. Instead of riding the beast on my reconnaissance mission, I was driven up it. (that's right, I didn't even drive!) I made careful observations from the passenger side of our rental car. The driver told me that it is steep but I have ridden lots of steep hills before. (how does he know this, since he does not ride a road bike with me??). I went with this and said, 'I will be fine, you are right, nothing to worry about'. When asked by locals and other racers if I had ridden the beast, I confidently told them nope, I was saving myself for race day. When they had a look of utter shock on their face, I said 'just like saving yourself for your wedding night'. The response to this was to laugh. Wonder if they were laughing at the prospect that I saved myself for my wedding night, or they were laughing because like a new virgin bride I was about to get a dose of reality? Guess we'll never know, but probably both.

Road before the official start of the Beast

The official description of the beast is the it is 7/10 of a mile with grades between 14-21%. What is not mentioned is that it is uphill at about 7% for about 1 mile before you make the left hand turn to the official start. It also kicks up significantly just before the turn.

Fresh Paint letting us know, this is the start

You may wonder how I am able to be so specific on the gradients of the climbs. Just to make sure that we knew how hard the hill was, in case our legs weren't reliable enough sources, the grade was painted on EVERY hill on the course. So considerate! Now, my system of hard, steep and OMG is much more fine tuned;)

The oh so dreaded 21% section.

What the course description failed to mention is that there is also a 27% section if you choose to take the inside of one of the corners. Luckily, I learned that lesson the hard way in the past and knew that it was better to go wide. Still, quite impressive to see the 27% painted on the road.

3/4 of the way up a fire breathing BEAST!

After driving the beast I continued my race preparation with a lovely moonlight kayak in a bio luminescent bay. Doesn't that sound like way more fun than worrying! 'because when you worry, your face will frown, and that will bring everybody down'. I should point out, I did jump out of the kayak and swim in the bay. I counted that as a taper week swim, and I really lit that workout up:)

Red Mangrove trees which grow directly in salt water

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