The Pain Pool: Wading in Above the Waist

Cougar Mountain Time Trial Route

Posting on the Tour de Blast, Bob asked if any of us were doing the Climb of Death up Cougar Mountain in Issaquah, WA, a climb locals refer to as “Zoo Hill”.  Like an idiot, I registered, and have set about preparing for the event by doing very little training and blocking the event from my consciousness.  My long-term strategy was to forget about it and then call foul later when I “realized” I had missed the event.  Were it not for the fastidious planning by race organizer Joel Blatt, my plan might have worked, too.  Instead, his regular email communications and updates ensured that I was perfectly aware of the fact that the event takes place August 7th, and he even convinced me to lobby for my start position.

I’ve ridden the climb in training on many occasions, and it has never approximated anything resembling “enjoyable”.  It starts off steep and stays steep for the first 1.5 kilometers.  About halfway up, it switches into straight sections of road that, while less steep, are painful reminders of how far you’ve got left to go.  Reflecting on the number of months between me and peaking does little to reassure me that I’m ready for the climb.  I haven’t even managed to reconnoiter the route and establish a race plan.  Thinking about it, though, I realize it’s probably for the best, as recon will likely only result in the realization that having a plan will just make things worse.

I am, however, considering taking my Velomihottie’s climbing wheels and pumping her 19mm tires to 180psi in the hopes of reducing the amount of friction induced my my too-fat-to-climb ass.  I’ve already removed one bottle cage, and I think I might remove the second; it’s not like I’m going to be taking any fluids on board. Quite the contrary: I’m hoping I don’t expunge a morning’s worth of food during the effort.

I suspect Bob might be an asshole.

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107 Replies to “The Pain Pool: Wading in Above the Waist”

  1. @frank
    7 pints of water maybe… actually no… I haven’t drunk a “pint” for a long time, don’t really drink… anyway, gruelling training schedule is 15 hours a week of hard riding.


    Some kinda report on Durham Uni Cycling Club

    I did ok, can blame the car that stopped in front of me for messing up my run into the finish… I wasted too much energy screaming “MOVE” at it, and tied up in the last 100m.

  2. @Nathan
    Nice look there young chap. Very classy, full Rule compliance, and wasp inhalation. Chapeau. Good choice on the Molteni cap as well. Looks like a nice late fall day in Jolly Olde England. Did you get new pedals?

  3. @Marko
    I did, Outland Look Delta compatibles…
    The weather was better than last year, when it was damp so out of the saddle climb meant losing energy in slipping the rear tyre, which suits me, because I clip up climbs better in the saddle with a high cadence.
    One thing I did forget here, was to put my track mitts on… getting off the turbo to the start was a slick manoeuvre in which I forgot to put them on, but was there exactly 1 minute before my start… perfect :)

  4. @Gary lardizabal

    G-Money! If you want to ride… hit me up! Putting together a small team down in Tacoma. Could use some of that knowledge. I just told one of they guys about how lucky I was to have you show me the ropes, teach me etiquette, look under the arm for the attack, where to sit in the echelon, etc… peace, Jimmy

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