On Saturday morning, I lined up at the starting line with the others in Showlow, Arizona. A nice guy started talking to me, asking how long I'd been riding. Maybe he wondered why I was there, given that I was easily the heaviest person there by at least 70 pounds. We talked a bit. I never mention that this is all a part of my "clydesdale project"...to see if a big guy can get healthy, lose weight and really compete in a cycling race (and soon, running!). Maybe I should get the blog name on a jersey or something, just for fun.
Anyway, the announcers told us that we would have headwinds for the first half of the race. Bad news given that the 17.1 mile course starts with a 6 mile hill climb (that is the "bluff" in the name "Bike the Bluff"). I chose to start near the rear of the group. When the race began, I held my position...most of the racers were ahead of me, but several were behind. Soon, we all spread out. I was alone.
But then, he came. I'll call him Stucky, for reasons you'll soon understand. Slowly, as we were working our way up the climb, I could see him coming up behind me. This was a grueling, slow pace...climbing the hill on a long stretch with the wind coming straight at me. Stucky came up along side me with a big friendly "Yee-haw!' I wasn't really in a upbeat mood (because I was working hard to get up that hill), but I tried to be pleasant back to him. Then, he was chatting a bit...I nodded, gave a few short responses, etc., but again, for a guy of my size, this was tough work and I wasn't really able to put on a big smiley face and talk conversationally. We were working out, right? No big deal, that is my problem, not his. I envied his pleasant attitude.