This year's edition of Hillier Than Thou brought out the best in Team Marty's. Props to Greg Spadavecchia for his winning performance at this year's Hillier... Well done, Greg!!! We all have you to chase and aspire to!
This year's edition of Hillier Than Thou also taught at least one member (me) a big lesson! While Hillier did kill me, the previous week's excursion into the mountains, on foot, set the stage.
It goes like this... Last year, Jesse and I rode HTT, and did great. I was thrilled with my first century and happy to have finished were we did given the amount of preparation I had done for the event: none. The longest ride I had done that year was 80 miles and other than the normal hills in the area, I'd done Fiddler's Elbow once. Still, we did great... However, I vowed to be better prepared this year and really race the thing. So I trained for months, and did three centuries, good hills, and handfuls of 70+ mile rides. I was much more prepared this time.
Everything was set... I had begun to taper and rest up for HTT, when I decided it would be OK take part in my niece's fiancé's bachelor day, hiking at New Paltz. One week before HTT, several of us met to go hiking/rock scrambling for the day at Mohonk Reservation. Big mistake! I had never hiked before, but hey, I'm in good shape... I can do this. How bad could it be? We walked, and ran, and scurried up wet and slippery rocks, then ran and walked back some more. The last few miles my legs were torn to shreds. I couldn't put my weight on my right leg without my knee screaming. That was the good leg.
The next day, Sunday, I couldn't move. Everything hurt. Everything. I'd slept poorly, and my knees were super sore. My legs hurt in a way they have never hurt. Different and more so than from even the hardest day on the bike. That day, I knew I had potentially ruined the upcoming Hillier. I was really concerned at this point, but it was too late.
On Monday, I rode the rollers, nice and easy, and could only do it for 30 minutes before I had to stop. Knees hurt, tendons hurt, and I felt unstable walking. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I rode for less than an hour, really easy... and a friend commented that I was limping. On Thursday I had dinner with the family, and my niece's wedding was on Friday!!! Saturday I rested as much as I could, legs still a bit sore.
Sunday, I woke up with a positive attitude. Put aside the past, and concentrate on a great day on the bike. However, it turned out to be one of the worst days on the bike.
At Camp Bernie, I met up with a few Marty's riders and stuck most of the way with Kyle, from the shop in Hackettstown. He was great company, and I really can't wait to ride with Jesse again. Anyway, I kept my HR in check and didn't blow-up on anything. Made sure not to push the pace anymore than I was prepared for. Around mile 25, I knew something wasn't right. I had no real power, and just didn't feel 'right' at all. Still, we forged on and I tried to put it out of my mind. Eventually, my knees began to feel a little strange too... Soon enough, all those little muscles and tendons that I'd nursed all week began to quietly complain. Right before Fiddler's Elbow, I told Kyle he should go on his own, that I wasn't feeling well. I suffered up Fiddler's, when last year, Jesse and I had whistled up it. By the third rest stop, I had been caught by guys who thought it so strange to see me, they said something... "Are you ok? You should be miles ahead of me?" I knew I was done.
I started to suffer up another relatively easy hill, and saw an old lady sitting on her porch, watching. The pain grew so severe I had to get off the bike, and lay down. I was really glad the old lady didn't tell me to get off her grass! I walked the rest of the hill, cramping on every step.
Shortly after the grass incident, on mile 67, I decided that continuing for the sake of finishing was foolish, and wasn't worth injury. It was not easy to go off-course and abandon. I stopped several times before ripping off the number from the bike, unsure if abandoning was right. I crawled another 20 miles back to the car.
Lesson learned? Keep your priorities straight. Just like they say, don't use a new pair of shoes, or try a new shammy cream for race day, then too, don't try a new, potentially difficult activity, without allowing plenty of recovery time. I will hike again, just not one week before 2009 Hillier!!!
Hey there Team Marty's. Share your cycling experiences here! Tell us stories about rides, races, tours, etc. Go ahead... it'll be fun!