New shared “Legs of Stone Challenge” record set yesterday!
With the Hailes Trails group ride coming up on Saturday, I figured yesterday was my last chance to get a really hard mountain bike workout in before the big day. The idea was to kill it yesterday, get a recovery ride in today and then do a weight training workout on Friday. Plenty of biking, but fresh legs for the group ride.
I thought it would be cool if Mike Simmons and I finally rode the “Legs of Stone” challenge together, and so I sent him a text and asked him if he wanted a workout. He did.
If you’re not familiar with this challenge, the short story is Mike came up with the idea: do as many Gravity Destroyer hill repeats as possible at the Mt. Dora trails in less than an hour: Descend mini-destroyer, and at the very bottom turn left and climb Gravity Destroyer all the way up to the entrance sign; from there, turn right, go back to mini-destroyer and repeat.
The full blog detailing the genesis of this challenge can be found here if you’re interested.
Mike set the initial bar at 11 repeats in just under an hour. So I went out there and managed to do 12 repeats in under an hour, and it hurt–bad. That, of course, meant Mike had no choice but to get back out there and do 12 repeats and beat my time (he did). A couple weeks ago I went back out there in less-than-ideal conditions (it was wet) and beat my best time for 12 repeats. Which brings us to yesterday…
Mike and I thought that 13 repeats in under an hour was highly unlikely: in order to accomplish that we would have to shave more than 20 seconds off each and every repeat. So when we started our workout yesterday the idea was to do 12 repeats, but do it in less time than ever before.
As you might expect, drop a couple of competitive guys like me and Mike on a trail together and sparks are going to fly. Over the course of that extremely painful hour Mike and I swapped lead riding position several times, and the pace was absolutely relentless. While in the lead position neither of us wanted to slow the other rider up, and so we pushed hard; when riding behind we always kept the pressure on the guy out front.
On the 12th lap we both felt like dying. I looked down at my Garmin and said, “Mike, I don’t know how to tell you this but we’re on pace to do 13 repeats.” Mike said, “Man, I don’t have another one in me.” I don’t recall exactly what I said in reply. I’m sure it was meant to be motivational, but I think it mostly involved a stream of semi-delirious cussing. Removing the blue words, the gist of what I said was we didn’t come this far to quit when 13 repeats was within our grasp. When we got to the top of the 12th repeat I motioned for Mike to take the lead and said, “Take us home man!!”
Victory in sight, Mike and I tore down the mini-destroyer downhill, tires breaking away, dirt flying into the air, just on the edge of control. When we started the final climb, I could tell Mike was not playing around and I joined him: one big final push. We actually did the 13th climb just nine seconds slower than our very first climb. There was nothing left when we got to the top, it was all out on the trails.
The new record? 13 repeats in 57m23s. That’s not only one more repeat than either of us had ever done before, but that time was faster than we’d ever done 12 repeats!
When we saw the incredible time, doubt started to creep in. Had we miscounted? We were completely exhausted, a miscount was possible. When we uploaded the data to Strava and counted the peaks we saw that there was no miscount–we’d really done it: 13 repeats in 57m23s!
It’s only fitting that Mike and I enjoy this victory together, as we pushed each other right to–no–past our limits yesterday.
And if you think this recounting of yesterday’s workout is a mountain biking story, you’re missing the point. This is what life is all about: whatever you do, give it everything you have and you’ll never be disappointed.