Death Ride Countdown
There are just three more days until my date with the Death Ride. While I should have relaxed today, a look at my cycling log from nine years ago, before my Climb to Kaiser ride (similar to the Death Ride), showed that I rode 77 miles.
Instead of resting today, I rode 55 miles, and climbed a hair under 3,000 feet. The longer I rode, the stronger I felt. Could I have ridden another 55 miles today? Probably. A third? Possibly. The thought of riding 150 miles in one day, though, with 15,000 feet of climbing up into the airy heights of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, to reach the summit of five mountain passes, seems daunting. No, it seems impossible.
It seems impossible because I'm eight years older than I was on the ride to Kaiser Pass, and because, again looking over that ride log, I see that I've come up short on mileage and elevation in my practice rides. Which means my legs may, at some point, far, far from the finish line, turn from pistons into limp noodles. So be it. Over the years I've traveled through difficult terrain, in my mind as well as on my bike.
Despite knowing the probably outcome of my ride on Saturday, tomorrow I'm going to pull the cassette off my mountain bike, and put it in place of the cassette on my road bike. My mountain bike cassette has a 32-tooth cog, five more than the largest cog on my road bike, and that's going to make it easier to pedal up the steep hills. While it probably won't earn me five mountain passes, that larger cog should help me pedal farther before I'm cooked enough to turn my pistons into noodles.