Posted by: fizzhogg | August 23, 2010

The Bear Went Over The Mountain

Loyal readers of this chronicle (all one of you) will remember the day I did my Jens Voigt ride, going up the massive Tour de Cure Hill. That was the hill that killed me, but I made it to the summit, then stopped, then nearly died of fatness.

Today, I rolled out of the house with no destination or trail in mind. But within the first minute or so, my competitive juices kicked in and I decided to head up the RFKATP to try and break my record of 24 minutes for the 5.7 mile jaunt.

I did.

I hit the virtual tape at 23 minutes, thirty-three seconds. I felt great.

Newbie cycling secret #4 – Setting reachable goals and accomplishing them does more for your riding than a $6000 bike.

Fueled with the success of my record-breaking ride, I headed for the Tour de Cure Hill with the idea of riding up and over it this time.

I managed my ride as I closed in on the TdC Hill, making sure to conserve energy and hydrate. Thanks to Hova, I have learned how to use the Unfat Machine’s triple crank, and as I hit the TdC Hill I felt good.

Then the suffering began.

I began to experience what I had the first time I rode this hill. It is what Lance Armstrong has coined a “sufferfest” – a festival of suffering. But then something happened. The summit came much sooner than it did last time. Just as the suffering was kicking in, I reached the summit.

With victory rushing through my veins, I flew down the other side. Down, down, down, the Unfat Machine hitting 28, 30, 33 mph.

Down, down, down, 36mph, 40, over 43mph! I finally hit a flat stretch rolling into a beautiful valley that had a golf course, waterfalls, chubby bike lanes, and…

A dead end.

Newbie cycling secret #19 – what goes down, must go back up… if you want to get home, that is.

Realizing that something was amiss, I turned and looked back at what I just ridden down – ridden down faster than I’ve ever gone on the UM.

The other side of the Tour de Cure hill is, uh, much longer and steeper than the front side.


But I felt great and refused to be scared. I cruised around the golf course letting my legs fully recover. I rode around basically flat roads at about 12-14mph, getting my mind set for the climb up the other side. I reminded myself I had ridden up Mt. Lemmon, while not as steep as this thing, was over nine miles mostly into a headwind. The Other Side was probably less than a mile with no wind.

I got this.

After about twelve minutes of easy riding, I was ready. I sucked down a Vanilla Bean Gu, drank some water, then drank some more water. I was about half a mile from the base of the climb. I kicked the UM into gear and went for it.

Holy Jens Voigt! What an idiot. The Sufferfest I experienced on the front end of the TdC Hill was not. That was not suffering. This was suffering.

I wanted to stop. I wanted to cry. I wanted my mommy. Okay, maybe not her.

But as I went slower and slower, fearing I was going to stop, I kept telling myself “You rode up Mt. Lemmon,” “You rode up a mountain,” “This is nothing.”

And it worked. I did it. I made it back to the TdC Hill summit. And I didn’t stop. I didn’t die. Hova and The PT did me a huge favor by making me ride up that mountain.

As I rolled down the front side I wanted to shout. I wanted people on the side of the road shaking cow bells and cheering for me. I wanted Jens Voigt to slap my back and say, in a thick accent, “I would not have tried that.”

But all I got was silence.

Rolling down the hill, just me and the Unfat Machine, and my silent victory.

Damn, it feels good to be gangster.

I was just over an hour into my ride. And I wanted more. But I didn’t want to just ride, I wanted to climb. No longer was I an overweight French-Canadian-Scotsman, suddenly I was a 59kg Italian with a funny hat. Give me Chad, give me Mt. Lemmon, give me Beyond Category climbs!

I rode and rode and whenever I had an opportunity to climb, I did. Short hills, big hills, I just kept climbing. Anything I could find.

In the end, I rode almost three hours, over forty miles.

This cycling thing is so much more mental than anything else.

Eat better.

Keep climbing.

Lose the gut.

Fair winds and following seas, Willy


  1. Good story, but I don’t understand why you rode back up…was your cell phone broken?

    I’m quite certain I would have called my wife and claimed that “something, something, bent gear, something, something…could you come pick me up?”

    You are now an insane cyclist…must be in the genes.

    P.S. Tell Hova to eat a sandwich…he is too skinny now.

  2. Nope, Jens would have tried it. As his legs screamed in pain, constantly telling his brain to cease and desist, he would have said “Shut up, legs!”

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