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. From Cambridge Dictionary

    decal: a picture or design printed on special paper, that can be put onto another surface, such as metal or glass

    sticker:a small piece of paper or plastic with a picture or writing on one side and glue or another similar substance on the other side, so that it will fasten to a surface

    hmmm..let me see. Both are a picture/writing/design on paper that can be fixed to another surface. So a decal is a sticker and your a rule breaker…

    Careful with that Rule #57 clause, you don’t want a naked picture of me on your stem…

  2. @Jarvis
    70mm stem?

    I may violate Rule #57 for the frame “decals” but haven’t decided yet. It is, afterall, a Rule that I penned so it would be a flagarant violation. I certainly wouldn’t go whole hog like Frank. Maybe a simple cog on the seat tube. I do like the the rider’s name over Velominati on the top tube ala the pro look. He sent out some pics earlier, we’ll post them up later.

  3. @Marko
    Gotta say: as decals/stickers go, that one is pretty slick and understated. At the same time, my mother stopped sewing my name into my underwear a loooong time ago…

  4. Update from the finish line:

    Two suspicions are confirmed:

    1) I am indeed too fat to climb. It remains to be seen how well I climb for my weight, as results are not yet posted.

    2) Bob is in fact an asshole.

    Turns out mine was a third-class ticket into the pain pool. No return flight.

  5. @frank

    Maybe you should have left the stickers off until later. Good work though, regardless. Ya don’t know unless you go. Too bad there’s not a podium for style. You’d stand alone.

  6. @marko

    however names are allowed so liking the sound of the name over Velominati

  7. @Marko
    Use underwear for what? I used the past tense.

    Well done, Frank. I trust you finished with either “I thought the finish line was supposed to be back around the last bend, so that’s why I slowed down” or “What?? That’s it?? I was pacing myself for the next 8k. My kick comes with 3.2k to go…”

    It’s because of Frank that there’s no podium for style. What do you do with the other two steps?

  8. @Jarvis

    Both are a picture/writing/design on paper that can be fixed to another surface. So a decal is a sticker and your a rule breaker…

    If we make our classifications based on the “is a” relationship, then we’re all well buggered, aren’t we? The distinction between seemingly similar items, based on their subtle meaning within the world of cycling is what we do here at the Velominati, no?

    Christ, if decals are stickers, then every rider is in violation unless they’ve sanded down their frames to the bare metal and painted over the frame in helium-based paint (wish I had some today). Certainly every sponsored rider who thus has logos on their frames are also in violation, and we know this isn’t true.

    Those are decals, not stickers. To the point, however, they are to be used in careful moderation. I went full hog, as Marko said (going full hog is what I do – otherwise this site wouldn’t exist), but if I added even a single further decal to the frame, it would be overboard.

    @frank too fat to climb well

    Indeed. That reminds me, I think the Lexicon might have been born while you were busy becoming a father. You need to go over and start with Peaking in Two Months and go through (at least) “Climb Well for my Weight”. You’ll also gain a new appreciate of the fact that I’m now laying on the couch moaning about my guns. My cuticles feel a bit sore, so I may need to take a week or two off.

    I ate shitloads of electrolite stuff before the race to “avoid cramping” and at the 1/4 way point started to cramp. Christ, that stuff is shit. I eased off, and then fired off the guns later and crossed the line with zero in the tank.

    That is a very hard climb. No question.

  9. @frankWell, I feel your pain, man — I’m there too, on the couch, guns in ruins, lounging in the pain pool, reading the blog, of course. Bummer about the cramps. Did you have a good, long warm up before you started?? Anyway, the Baxter’s and the freshly shaved legs probably took some time off…

  10. @all
    Ok, the results just got sent out. My time was 14:04.5. I was really hoping for sub 13, but it is what it is and it was a fucking blast. Next year, I’ll train for it and do it right.

    I think one of the big mistakes I made was to “warm up” on the hill by doing it three times in the morning. The good news was I got some good course recon in, but it might have softened the guns a touch.

    Interesting pieces of data:

    I was 33rd. No placing of a Velominatus, that’s for sure. Next year, top ten.

    A 20 year old kid spanked the thing at 10:10, 43 seconds ahead of the next rider.

    A 27 year old woman got 7th overall.

    I got third in my age category, but a guy ten years my senior got third overall.

    Full results:

  11. 10:10 is smokin fast. That boy was hammerin at over 12 mph. Anyhow nice ride Frank. By the way, how much does your Cervelo weigh at race time?

  12. @frank
    I bet the winner was a reedy little fuck. The results should be by weight not age then you really would know if you climbed well. Good on ya Frank. Your bike looks excellent too. I approve.
    34? Why do you even talk to me? I can barely remember being 34. I think it was better than 55, pretty damn sure. sheeeit.

  13. @frankVery nice decals, Frank. I think that should quickly put to rest the decals vs. stickers issue. Are they going to become available at some point? They sure look great on the R3…

  14. @pakrat
    She weighs in at 7.5 kilos or so…I can take further weight-saving measures, such as lighter bars, but it’s not bad. My Velomihottie’s R3-SL, with it’s smaller size, is almost a kilo lighter.

    Thanks all for the words of congrats. I think we all know these results are not adequate. Next year, I will go sub-13, mark my words. I will train properly and climb well for my weight.

    Here is a pic of me at the finish; I did, however, sufficiently Rule #5 it, as aside from sore legs today, my rib cage and diaphragm are killing me. That’s a good sign, I think.

    Click for a bigger version


    Very nice decals…Are they going to become available at some point?

    Absolutely. I’m finalizing a few products that will be availble soon…pint glasses, decals, and the shop apron, in addition to the t-shirt currently for sale.

  15. @frankFrank, that is an awesome picture! Rule #5 has been observed. classic. I;ve never done a time trial, let alone a climbing time trial, but it looks like a blast. Wish we had something like this down here.

  16. @frankAh! I just noticed the cycling specific eyewear tucked into the helmet…I’m assuming that was for aesthetics and that they were never worn?

  17. Right on. What were the starting gaps? Looks like you have 1:15 into that guy to your rear, though the use of a long lens might be misleading and you could have closer to 1:30.

  18. Nice riding, youngster. Jayzus: I climb well for my age…

    Just arrived in Boston after 24 hours on planes, trains, and automobiles. Head’s woozy, but I might go looking for a bike and some hills tomorrow.

  19. Looks like Jarvis gets the shot glass and one bonus VSP point with a tip of 13:30. I’m not sure what this will do for Frank and Jarvis’ relaysh but Jarvis gets a modicum of more cred in the standings. Note that it has been stated that a sub-13 time will be posted next year. I wonder what I’m doing next August….?

    Fucking great picture Frank. I’ve seen that face before. Most notably shredding the gnar in Chamonix. Damn you look good son. Did you change your bar tape? And nice to see you riding in the Pacific NorthWet without arm and knee warmers finally.

    All you motherfuckers are awesome and true velominati.

  20. @Marko
    Actually, I think Nathan took the honors with a prediction of 13:44, unless I don’t understand the game, which may be the case.

    Thanks to all you assholes for being so kind to me. It would be better if I had my Rule #5 Face on and actually did a fast time. Instead, it’s just proof of how fat I am. The winner of the comp was the guy with the least faith in me, and even that proved too generous.

    Next year, I suggest that as many of you fuckers as possible come out and do this climb. Combine it into other trips if you can. This is a great area to vacation in.

    The climb is truly hard. Short, but very steep and the grade fluctuates; despite being less steep than L’Alpe, it is in some ways harder in that it has very steep ramps and elevation loss throughout.

    I think the guy behind me was my 30-second man. I think I made him my 40-second man, though. He had some gas in the tank still, he hung with me when I passed him halfway up the climb. It was fun chatting with him after.

    I’m still waiting for pictures of the steep hairpin. It was awful. The dude who started 30 seconds behind me came up alongside me at that turn. It was a shocker. We rode up the hairpin shoulder-to-shoulder ala Schleck/Bertie, out of the saddle, through the mist. He blew on the steepest ramp and ended up a ways down, losing something like a minute to me after that.

    It was fun as shit. He and I talked for a while after, too. I forgot how fun the camaraderie is in these citizen races. There’s competition, but everyone is very good-natured. My 30-second man congratulated me as I passed him, before holding on to me all the way to the top.

    Sub 13 next year. By Merckx, I swear it.

  21. Hey Frank, been out of the comp for awhile and that was a blast on the hairpin- I used to do the old brasstown bald hill tt back east and this one Kills it…Congrats on the time! Looking fwd to next year and sub 13 hell yes!

  22. @frankI’d love to come up for it…will see where things are around that time, but it would be great to have a well-trained velominati “team” placing high in the standings…

  23. @Gary lardizabal
    Gary! Welcome! Saw the pics of you in the race pics (I think they’ll be on pretty soon); you were getting your Rule #5 on as well, my man! I’m sure we’ll put in a bunch of painful k’s here together in Seattle between now and next year. Welcome to the site.

    Brasstown! Brutal! Never did it, but did my time riding in the Blueridge Mountains; brutes, those.

  24. @frank: congrats man, that is a killer foto w/Rule #5 implemented to the fullest extent of the law

  25. Stickers, decals, whatever. FUCKING. LOVE. THEM. Want some

    Great photo… We share your pain. In two months you will KILL this motherfucker.

  26. @frank
    Sign me up for some dee-kals or deckles. Only in this girly white, though? Would appreciate a black option. Y’know: to go with my Rule #8, black, black, black.

  27. @SteampunkYou could go with the black decals on a black frame and approximate the grandeur of Spinal Tap’s “black album,” eh?

  28. @KitCarson, @Steampunk
    Actually, my guy can make ’em in a bunch of colors…black for sure, orange, too, I think. I’ll check with him. I probably won’t endorse the orange ones because I have a feeling they are not the “Molteni Orange” hue that KRX-10 and I so carefully chose.

  29. Speakin of F Strack, I noticed there is someone posting on forums (ok, I go there occasionally for a laugh) under the moniker FrankDrack…

  30. @Nathan
    is not enough to have been right? ;-)

    can I have your Jawbones, as you obviously don’t need them. Taking your post-race de-brief into account, I reckon that in your mind you were riding it as if you were race-fit and not at your current level where obviously you’re aiming to peak in a couple of months. Hence the ultimate 14 rather than the sub-13. Still good aim for next year.

  31. Hey, don’t sell me short… that would be Dutch A-hole! Great run at the ZH TT Frank, the photo is a keeper too. Luckily I have been on vacation. Indeed a healthy observance of Rule #5. Hmmm… but maybe a slight breach on Rule #7 with the arms?

    I perused the musings on “Acceptability of a Method”, hopefully some thoughts will gel.

  32. @Bob
    YOU ARE A FUCKING DUTCHMAN? I knew I liked you. The world owes us Dutch a debt of gratitude, that’s for sure. Absent among them, however, is the recommendation to ride the Zoo Hill TT. A fucking foray into the Pain Cave with no flashlight, that is.

    That said, at the recommendation of various community members, perhaps we shall convene next year for this Rule #5 Fest? I’m all for it. We all have something like 11.932344 months to peak for it. There’s no excuse to miss it, really.

    If nothing else has come of this, at least our mates at BigRingRiding have recongnized the effort.

  33. That is pretty select company you’re keeping there on BIGRINGRIDING’s blog

  34. This mountain time trial stuff is a different bird. Last minute preparation probably should have excluded the hot dog, cheeseburger, potato salad, and numerous Newcastles at last nights bbq. Held my own anyhow this morning and had Rule #5, a Velominati jersey, and a mental image of Frank from his TT to pull me through. Climbing on a group ride is one thing when you have others to share the pace, but TT climbing is a sick head game as those of you who have done so might agree, and I think I like it. It pretty much requires a heavy dose of Rule #5. Hopefully a decent cadre of Velominati will make it for next years Climb of Death.

  35. The British Universities Hill Climb is coming up this weekend… Here… I will be riding, and hoping to take at least 30 seconds off last years time (if I do, that will be top 20ish). Of course it all depends on how well the taper from this gruelling training schedule goes…

  36. @Nathan
    Good luck, mate! I assume that by “grueling training schedule” you mean “drinking 7 pints a day” and by “tapering” you mean “I stopped drinking full stop and now I’m spending 3 hours a day on the turbo trainer”?

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