The Onset

As of this morning, I hadn’t completely given up on the possibility that I might just be able to still pull off getting up Teton Pass in less than 40 minutes. In my feeble naivety, I hadn’t come to grips with the idea that yet another season was over. I have my reasons, though. Let me explain:

1. I’m a late-season bloomer. I make this statement based on facts from my first year of road biking. That year, as of July, when I bought my bike, I was getting dropped by the Tuesday-night ride group. By late August, everybody else was sandbagging when I stormed up the climb next to the Menan Buttes. Only the top cyclist in the group could keep up–and he even saved passing me until the very top of the climb. I dunno, maybe he just wanted to see how I did or something.

Of course, there’s no guarantee of being a late-season bloomer. Heck, things always look better in retrospect, right?

2. I’m skinnier. I’ve lost somewhere in the range of 4-5 pounds since our baby was born just a few weeks ago. Actually, I think I lost most of it in the hospital where I ate regular meals … of peanut butter M&M’s while the hospital staff brought my wife three meals a day. Go figure, the peanut butter M&M diet really works. Actually, there’s a little more to that, but I’ll tell you about it later.

But yeah, since climbing’s supposed to be a power-to-weight-ratio-type activity, I would’ve benefitted by having a few pounds less to haul up the mountainside with me.

3. My Poleline PR. This year, I have the additional evidence of the fact that, just a few weeks ago I rode Poleline, the local toughest climb (yes, it’s a mere 300 feet in a mile–but hey, this is Idaho, we gotta take what we can get) a whole 10 seconds faster than I’d ever ridden it before–2004 included. Forget my glory days. By that account, and the fact that I also managed to kill my Teton Pass PR (that’s "personal record" in case you didn’t know) by 40 seconds, it appears I am (or was a few weeks ago) in better shape than I’ve been in the past. That’s promising.

So yeah, I had a little confidence saved up. My legs were feelin’ good, and I dare say I even had a plan in place as to how I just my gain a little more power in my thighs and possibly knock off the big 4-0.

That is, until I saw THIS.

P.S. In case it’s already blown over, I’ll spoil the surprise by telling you I saw a huge foggy, soggy snowstorm through that webcam. Forgive me for spoiling what (I’m sure) would have been an extremely tense moment. Still, isn’t this webcam thing cool?! Heckya. It’s facing the Victor side of the Pass, by the way, so that’s just the very end of the racecourse you’re seeing on the road there.


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