Sunday, November 27, 2005

Waimea Canyon An Odyssey in Three Parts. Part One

Waimea Canyon, an odyssey in Three parts.

Part One: The History

ZenLC is a sadistic man. He should have been a chemistry teacher.

That should set the framework for the events to follow. ZenLC recognized a part of my personality that has difficulty in resisting a challenge. He used this to inflict considerable pain and torment, both physical and mental upon my person.

Last year, ZenLC and his family took a vacation to the beautiful Hawai’ian island of Kauai. As all must do when visiting this gem of the pacific, they enjoyed the splendor of Waimea Canyon described by Mark Twain as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific." Having traveled to this same place a few months prior, we had some discussion about it. There is much to note that while I marveled at the spectacle, ZenLC began thinking of how to torture a new cyclist with the idea of climbing this monster on bikes.

The challenge was posed. Ride Waimea Canyon. Not just down, like the tour groups do, but up. Way up. With the completion of my first century ride behind me, and the elation that success brought, I agreed. I had a new challenge and with all the optimism of a green rider, I began to plan out my training rides for the year. Hills. Lots of them, and many times. Of course, as could be predicted, forces beyond my control dashed my plans, but I did a fair job of damage control. I would do less than a third of the training that I’d planned.

ZenLC, a few months out from the ride, poses the idea of adding 60 miles to the Ride and making it a century. I voice my concerns about my fear of not completing the Climb itself, let alone an additional 60 miles, but he simply says, “You’ll do fine.” Over the next few months, I commit to trying to add the miles to turn the Ride in to a century, but without the experience of that type of climbing, my limited training, and bathmophobia, my heart just wasn’t in it.

My training for climbing and improving my power to weight ratio met with mixed results. Other factors in life gained a higher priority, but progress was made on both accounts. Five weeks prior to The Climb, I quit my job. Three weeks prior, I started a new job. Nutrition and training were put to the back burner, future income had to be secured.

I will leave out the details of trying to pack down my recumbent, and the poor timing of my lovely wife inviting people over the night before the trip. It’s too much work to censor out all of the profanity. I will not be shipping my recumbent to any more off island rides. Period.

ZenLC and I had become very good friends over the last year or so, and it was interesting to meet him face to face. The familiarity of knowing a bit about this person, mixed with the lack of familiarity of talking face to face was quite odd. I had the opportunity to meet his lovely wife and adorable son.

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