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Newton's Revenge Practice Ride
Kristen Gohr contacted John over the winter about joining her new racing team. When John mentioned this to me, I said, "Hey she's a really good climber... she would do well on the tandem. You two could definitely get the record!" Yes, I suggested giving up my seat on the tandem to a wicked strong and hot chick. Even knowing that now John would know what it is like to have a tandem partner who actually puts some pressure on the pedals! In some small way, I can claim part of that record, since I helped out by bringing the tandem to the Wednesday night hill rides so they could get some practice riding together, and they impressed the Wednesday night crowd. I even agreed to drive for the practice ride. I was in pretty good shape at the time and was toying with the idea of doing the race myself, but they needed a driver and the weather on the day of the practice ride was less than inspirational, as you'll see. Ah, the sacrifices I make.
Practice riders could start anytime between 5 and 7 AM, and John and Kristen chose to start at the latest possible time, just as it started to rain.
Cristine decided to get some practice too. Domique was doing a ride from Montreal to Maine, so she passed on this particular ride, but got pleny soaked on her ride that day, and the day before too.
It was a bit of a challenge driving for this one. Since riders had started ahead of me, I had to be very careful passing them as I drove up. As a rider, I know you want the whole road, and really don't want to inhale car fumes. But as I drove up along with the riders, I managed to get some photos and offe some encouragement.
I was also inspired by this gal on single speed. (as you'll see later in the season)
These two didn't give me much time. I'd get ahead, pull over, pull out the camera and suddenly they were there - SMOKING the whole way up.
It was brutally cold at the top. I stayed warm by running up the final pitch with them. Look at how red John's knees are.
And there is some serious pain on their faces.
Wow, that looks steep. They finished in 1:10, unofficially breaking the record. So we knew they's have it in the bag on race day. Kristen had raced the day before the practice ride and promised to rest up before the actual race. With any luck the weather would be better, and of course, race atmosphere will inspire them even more..
I had the car running - very ungreen of me, I know. But I quickly got them in the heated car and got the tandem on the roof. We were quite worried about Cristine, given the conditions. We headed down the mountain and found her not far from the top, smiling and pedaling, so we turned around and headed back to the parking lot.
Her hands were numb from the cold when she arrived and she couldn't squeeze the brakes, so I caught her and got her in the car to warm up. I'm so glad I drove!
Fortunately conditions on race day were much better.