I can’t really call it an obsession. If it was an obsession, I would have commissioned a bloke I’ve never met to build me a set of ultra-light wheels and I would have spent an outrageous amount of money to upgrade my handlebars in an identical shape from aluminum to carbon in an effort to shave a few grams off the top end of my machine. After all, science has proven that buying lighter gear is a more effective strategy for climbing faster than that weight-weenie bullshit like quitting beer or steak.
Alright, so maybe I’m obsessed. But it’s not an all-consuming obsession – not obsessive obsession. Its more like a weighty thought that bends all the other less weighty thoughts towards it, like Einstein described why gravity bends light. It started less than a single Cognitive Unit after the VMH informed me of my time up the mountain on Part Deux. (A Cognitive Unit, obviously, is the unit of time it takes one to process any piece of information after the dishing up of a massive helping of Rule V.) It was around that time that my thoughts started warping towards riding Haleakala again – faster.
It started in low, then it started to grow. No, I’m not quoting How the Grinch Stole Christmas; I’m describing what happened after my gut was accosted by the Holiday Season. I’m fat, I’m out of shape, and I’m slow. What training I’ve been doing has been done in Seattle around the freezing point in stubbornly wet weather. Maui, on the other hand, insists on having warm weather – something I’m unaccustomed to – and the forecast for the coming week is hot, hot, and hotter. Despite Ryder Hesjedal setting the record up the climb during this time of year, the conventional wisdom around these here parts is that this is the worst time of year to try for a personal record up Haleakala.
You will understand, then, that this is the perfect time for me to leave a lung or two on Crater Road for the third time running. Assuming the weather holds and D.S. @Gianni, Coach VMH (whose “coaching” consists mostly of chastising and comparing me to small and adorable yet unwanted rodents), and @MauiBike fail to come up with compelling reasons to move the effort to another date, I will be visiting Pele for the third time on New Years Day, 2013.
Prognosticate on my upcoming ride at your own risk. For your reading and viewing entertainment, the two previous editions of Frank vs. The Volcano are provided here: Frank vs. The Volcano // Frank vs. The Volcano, Part Deux.