Or more frankly I got skooled on Mt. Lemmon today climbing. Started the climb with a small group of about 25 riders or so. Rather casual pace, first two miles go through roughly 230w effort or level 2. Then my friend Kelly, Eric who is in town from S. Korea and a couple of other guys ratchet up the pace to ~250w. Still no big deal. Hit the first steep ramp ~ 2.5 miles into it and we shed everyone but four of us. It’s Eric, Kelly and I. We are working against this old dude. Old dude wearing old school Ray Bans. No shit those Ray Bans looked about 20 years old and the guy was at least in his late 50’s or early 60’s. Riding a straight block. His largest cog looked to be about a 21. I’ve got one of those, a 23 and a 25. Yeah I have a dinner plate size cog on my bike. No one has ever accused me of being a climber. Old dude attacks, we respond, he surges again and again. All these surges have me over 300w to cover the moves. (FTP ~265w currently). At one point old dude throws in a 4 min effort that has me averaging 308w to cover it. We are not even at MP 5 yet. I’m thinking WTF? Dude is wearing Ray Bans, more clothes then any two of us, has to be sweating his ass off. I’ve got my full zip jersey almost completely unzipped, sweat is dripping from my helmet and old dude is laying the wood to our asses. We are passing other riders going up the mountain like they are standing still. 2-3 min gaps to riders up the road are closing so fast we almost crash into them. Old dude is pulling and whipping ass. I’ve had enough of this shit and throw in a :50 surge at 375w. Old dude goes away, you could barely see his lime green jersey behind us. Kelly and Eric cover, plus I moved to the outside to give Eric a draft and isolate old dude as I mad my move. Just after I tell Kelly lets ride sensible for the rest of the climb and he agrees old dude latches back on. We roll through MP 5 and again I’ve had enough. 600w for :30 and everyone goes away (although this was a bad spot to attack as the road flattens out right where I went, I should have waited but). Sure enough about 2 min later old dude rides by with Kelly barely on his wheel and Eric is off the back. After latching on and closing the gap, I’ve fully embraced the realization old dude is not going anywhere and came to play. He starts ratcheting up the tempo again and again. No surges just a steady increase in the pressure. I cling to Kelly’s back wheel for dear life. Lose that wheel and I know I’m gone. Keep looking down and the powermeter says 295-310w. After a few minutes of this old dude pulls to the side looks at us and says “I hope you have at least 4 min at 300w in your legs because I’m about to go”. What he really should have said is I hope you have more then 1:30 at 390+w because I’m about to go. WTF? I”m already at 310w. About 1:15 later and I officially went off the back. Kelly was clinging for dear life weaving and bobbing all over his bike. For the next 1.5 miles I never dropped below 265w and never got closer then 80 yards to them. Kelly attacked him just below Prison Camp and opened a gap. Didn’t matter, when Kelly turned to head down around old dude just keep motoring. I never saw him again. Realizing I’ve been used, abused, and utterly destroyed I turned, chatted with Kelly for a bit and waited for Eric to get back on. Eric and I then rolled up to MP 19 never seening old dude again. We got totally destroyed today but an old dude wearing the oldest Ray Bans I’ve ever seen
Author: Brian Stoverhttp://accelerate3.com
Brian guides professional and age group triathletes to performances beyond their expectations. His athletes have numerous top 10 overall placings in Ironman and 70.3 races, won multiple Age Group World Championships, they've dominated regional and local races while shattering their athletic goals.