Of course, now that things seem to be relatively settled, I had to go rock the boat. Last Friday I woke up a bit early, fired up the computer and signed up for the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb, to be held on 16 August 2008. This is a very popular race; registration filled in less than 30 minutes this year. Mt. W is known to have the “world’s worst weather,” which merely compounds the challenge of riding 7.6 miles up a road with a 12% average grade. In fact, last year’s race was canceled due to 70 mph winds and driving rain at the summit. Yum.
And I know exactly why I signed up, too. I hate heights. I tend to climb OK in training but not so well in races. There’s only one way to know if I can overcome those weaknesses and make it to the top.
In the few days since I registered, I played around with the various online calculators to try to get an idea of what my finishing time might be. Given reasonable inputs for weight and power, I’m coming within a few minutes of a “top notch” finish. So, now I have a more concrete goal – get my bike and my butt up the mountain in 1:20:00 (an average speed of about 5.7 mph). That’s going to require some weight loss, some hard training, and some good old fashioned luck. I’m borderline obsessed with that number now, because I’m not sure I can do it.
Come August, I’ll find out.