EPIC Woman Camp – Day 6
Day 6 proved to be an incredibly challenging epic day!! We rolled out in two groups today, 45 minutes apart to factor in some major climbing time to the top of Mt. Mauna Kea.
I woke up feeling superb about the day and ready for the challenge to push myself as far as I could. I knew I had a 12 hour window to the get workouts of the day done and I was going to make it happen.
So we started with our usual 30-ish miles out the Queens K, which now feels pretty easy compared to day 1. Once you get over the fact that there are no flats in Kona, you just roll with it….get it, lol!
The only downer of getting going on the bike was the saddle. Not having put in enough saddle time before camp and dealing with my own previous issues. My girlie parts were not, lets just say happy with me. Once we started to climb the pressure points got worse and worse as well as the significant chaffing that occurs after 6 days of riding. There was just no way for me to find relief. I would press on, stop get of the bike, let blood circulate and then get back on and push for as long as I could stand the burning. This was my routine for the next 20-miles of climbing and fighting the wind.
At one point Bruce came by to check on me and I asked what the days minimum was. It was 80k so that meant I had 12 miles to go. I was barely moving forward into the wind by then and was stopping every 2-miles getting off the saddle pouring cold water on my shammy, nothing seemed to give me relief. I rode on and then Bruce came back around to let me know how many miles to the next turn and breaking it into smaller pieces seemed to help. I knew I could make it and grind it to 80k, it was just a matter of how much time it would take.
The next time Bruce came around I asked him if he ever saw the movie Jackass and how those idiots would strap on a jock and let someone hit them in the crotch with sledge hammers ect. Anyway, at this point I could have used that and just knocked myself out of misery. I seriously contemplated that landing on my top tube would make me feel better. Anything better than what I was experiencing.
When I finally made it to the lunch stop, it was over. I couldn’t bear another minute on the saddle. My head hung low and I was so very disappointed. Not in myself, but in the situation. I wanted today to be an epic day and to do what many of the other girls did.
So because I couldn’t continue on I will tell you about the amazing women that did. The first Epic Woman that made it to the base or Mauna Kea was our Mighty Mouse. She was miles ahead of the rest. Etienne told her that the other girls wanted her to wait on them but she looked at us and said “let them come get me”. With that she rode off with a shit grin of determination on her face and heading up the 10k climb to 9200 feet.
Next to arrive was the crew of Suzanne and AZ, the KOM jersey girl and her compadre. I let them know what lead MM had and I don’t think Suzanne even laid her foot down, she just headed out determined to get up that mountain. Then Iona, Joey and Lauren arrived. Joey contemplated stopping, but her Iron Will was too strong and she went for it!! Lauren decided to go for a run and Iona called it a day due to a massive headache, most likely caused from the heat. (she is from the Arctic Tundra you know!)
Bri was next to arrive at the base and after a little break she decided to go for the climb. When I looked back to watch her go I noticed she was walking her bike….oh yeah, there was a cattle guard…crazy. Tara, our fearless leader arrived and within two minutes she was in the van nursing little Maya (more on this later). It wouldn’t be long after that Tara starts her epic climb up Mauna Kea. Lisa arrived last and called it a day at the base.
Once everyone was in it was time to head up to the top to cheers them to the finish. As the van started the climb I thought to myself holy shit this is an insane climb and I so wanted to do it. It reminded me of my experience climbing Mt. Bachelor in Sunriver, OR during the Pacific Crest half Ironman. At times the girls were doing switchbacks just to keep there bikes moving. This is a great skill to learn when climbing grades of this steepness.
The van was working its little engine to get up so you can imagine what the girls hearts and muscles were doing as well as their lungs restricted by the altitude. As we passed each climber we gave a little shout out but didn’t linger long as they needed to focus. We made the last turn at the top and there she was our MIGHTY MOUSE just pulling in and finished the 10k+ climb a smidgeon under an hour. See pic of her. So freakin’ impressed by this little machine who led the day from start to finish and worked it all alone with no team to pull her and no one behind encouraging her. It was just Mighty Mouse, the road, the wind and the mountain….AWESOME!!
Next to the finish was Suzanne and AZ, who always finish in style and with smiles on their faces. They really make it look easy and rocked the day.
The next to finish was our Joey-Lynn who I am the most proud of. She is the Chrissie Wellington of our camp and the most sincere, energetic, sweet little powerhouse I have ever met. She always has a smile on her face and nothing but kind positive words to give. She inspires me. At the base of the climb she wasn’t sure what her knees could handle and just took off focusing on one pedal stroke at a time. I knew once she started there was no turning back and I was right. She made the last turn and up she came to the top, but this time there was not a smile on her face. There were unfamiliar tears streaming down her cheeks. These were not tears of happiness of completing the climb, they were tears that came from a place much deeper. As we shouted how amazing she was, she returned to us apologies…..apologies that she had to unclip and walk a little bit. She was running on empty, lips chapped and dry and every ounce of energy gone and she was apologizing for having to dismount on a climb to 9200 feet. That’s pretty fucking EPIC and a true display of having the heart of an athlete. I choked back my own tears of inspiration and jealousy of wanting to have gone there myself. Joey-Lynn, you are AWESOME.
The last to make the summit was Tara…..apparently she was busy nursing her 3-month old baby girl When we pulled up beside her on the climb to the base I had heard her mumble something like not doing the climb or some shit like that and I was like what? Who is this? This is EPIC Camp and you are going to the top Maybe it was the coach in me, but she knew it and she destroyed the climb. Not only that but she popped up out of the saddle for the last 50 meters……EPIC style points go to you Tara.
So the day was complete……well not really. We had a long drive back to the house and our 10k run to get done before sunset. You didn’t really think she would let us out of that did you?