Monday, June 18, 2018

Montes Homini Lupus Sunt: B2VT Iron Distance (6/9/18)

Thru Vermont

Ride: B2VT Iron Distance
Distance: 113 miles
Moving Time: 7:19:08
Elapsed Time: 8:57:04
Pivo Index: 2
Map and Profile

Tyson Road, Reading, VT 

At the final water stop we had been told it was only 5 more miles of climbing.  That was good since much of the previous 10 miles had been long not too steep climbs.  I was ready for the down hill off of Tyson Road and down into Okemo.

What they did not tell us was exactly how steep those 5 miles would be or that it was really six and a half miles...

As I fought my way up the road, about 4 and a half miles up, a group came by me.  And there I heard the telltale: "looking good Jesse."  I didn't know these people but they had read it off the bib number on my back.  There is one thing for certain, you only tell people they are looking good is when they aren't.

BLav and the Bear -
It's like a 70s buddy comedy

My legs were dead; I was shifting side to side.  And all I could think was, "thank god I'm only doing the 113 miler and not the full 149."

Cambridge, MA

Two weeks before, we received an email. There would be construction on the route between the final water stop in Belows Falls and Okemo.  The organizers, thus, were rerouting the ride.  So those who had registered for the 136 mile ride could either ride 149 miles or drop down to the Century which would now be the "Iron Distance" 113 mile ride.

I chose the latter.

Urvi's pic of me - before I knew what was about to come

Discourses on Leviathan while riding on Leviathan - Chesterfield, NH

Leaving Ashby, we had a nice 38 mile warm up before that monster climb - Leviathan.  En route to it, all the guys we knew riding from the 149 start passed us - Joe, Patrick, Rory and Dave.

"There is no such thing as the Tranquility of mind" so as I made the Leviathan climb, I could only think of Hobbes' Leviathan.  And a man dead nearly 350 years, offered assistance - either by motivation or by distraction - to the top of a mount in New Hampshire.

"The condition of man is a condition of war of every one against every one."
By the time we made the right hand turn, the group we were with had begun to split up.  In what had been a group effort to get the bottom became a free for all of man against man to get to the top.

"Hell is truth seen too late." 
And this hill, while not as hard as Tyson Road, was an early reminder of a pretty simple truth - I had not done enough training.  But it was too late.

Atop Leviathan

“Covenants, without the sword, are but words and of no strength to secure a man at all.”
Probably the main issue is that unlike marathoning, I didn't have the same direct forcefulness to me.  The sword of the impending marathon is so much stronger than the dagger of the impending Century ride.

“For it can never be that war shall preserve life, and peace destroy it.”
This battle of all against all (that really wasn't - seriously most people around me were just trying to make it to the top), every pedal stroke was destroying quads.  There was no hope to save strength for later each of these strokes was one that would not return later in the ride.

“Fear of things invisible is the natural seed of that which every one in himself calleth religion.” 
Slowly the fear of Leviathan dissipated.  I could handle this average 4% grade; I could handle the

“War consisteth not in battle only,or the act of fighting;but in a tract of time,wherein the will to contend by battle is sufficiently known.”
So, by halfway up, with the superstitions and fears of Leviathan gone, I looked to controlling it.  A sign passed that said 2 miles to go.  I knew if I took it smartly, I could make it.

"Hurt inflicted, if lesse than the benefit of transgressing, is not punishment"
Each pedal stroke was not the agony of destruction but now the step to the top.  Each hurt was not punishment but hurrah to another rung to the top.

“Respice finem; that is to say, in all your actions, look often upon what you would have, as the thing that directs all your thoughts in the way to attain it.” 
I knew how much I had to climb, I knew the water stop in Chesterfield was near.  So I traded between sitting when the slope was gentle and standing emulating Contador (only in mine own head I'm sure) when the rise was steep.

Rivers of Vermont

“Fact be virtuous, or vicious, as Fortune pleaseth”
One mile to go was both virtuous and vicious.  I was 80% done; but I still had one mile of slope and climb to ride. 

"For Appetite with an opinion of attaining, is called HOPE."
Eventually, I knew I would make it.  There spero pushed its way as a pacer.  I chased with not only desire to finish but expectation.  And then over the mat at the top I briefly was going to exult my success an  exhalt my mini-victory by thrusting my arms into the air.  Yet there were still 70 miles to go and the mat was a raised enough bump that I worried I would fall.

“I often observe the absurdity of dreams, but never dream of the absurdity of my waking thoughts.” 
As I sat under a large maple at the Chesterfield Fire Department I reflected up the Leviathan climb:

It was solitary and it was nasty and it was brutish; but, alas, it was not short.

Bellows Falls, VT

Thinking Thucydides on Tyson Road

Many of the lessons of Leviathan that could be teased out of Leviathan had been learned.  Sadly not many of them could have been implemented by this time. 

Exhausted and weakened and now left with but one goal, finishing.

Yet, with no Hobbes to help, I was left only with Thucydides: "strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must."

Weak and humbled I climbed to the top of 5 miles of Tyson Road, just to make a turn and see MORE CLIMBING to the top of Tyson Road.  And then after charging up that with my last ounce of strength, I made a turn to find yet one last climb to finally top out five mile hill 1000 foot hill of Tyson Road (at more like 6 miles and 1100 feet of climbing).

The last section was just suffering what I must. I sat down and pushed what I could and thought: my "swaying bodies reflected the agitation of my mind, and I suffered the worst agony of all, ever just within the reach of safety or just on the point of destruction."

Okemo, VT

After Tyson, it was fast and easy (except for the slight climb to the finish).  Brian met me at the finish and we headed to BBQ and Sam Adams IPAs with the boys.

Dave, Brian, Rory, Patrick and I stand around Joe

Rory won second in his age group
Patrick took third in his.