Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Mountain Monologues--Final

(left, The arrow marks the location of Martha's grave on the Shenandoah Mt. 100 course.)

(left, Martha paid with her life on a Shen Mt. 100 climb.)

Lots of talk about Landis and Eatough at Shenandoah, but the real story is Sue Haywood. She won the women’s race against a very stout field of 40 (50 minutes faster than 2nd woman) and was 12th OVERALL with a 8:12 time. She shattered the course record (hers) by 27 minutes and apparently was waving to spectators and being all cool like she does the whole way. Legendary.

I figure women like Martha Moats Baker who attempted to conquer Brushy Mt. one winter paved the way for all of us who try to get up that thing without dying.

A work colleague asked what one thinks about for 13 hours on a mountain bike. I told her that it takes me back to a pre-language state, when thought is formed with pictures and rudimentary sentence fragments. Transported back to when food, feeling comfortable in the diaper area, and anticipating the next nap (aka downhills) are the capacity of logic. Meditating on trail ahead, glancing around a bit, projecting myself to the top of the next climb or imagining myself at the next aid station, handing off my Camelback for a refill, reaching for a PBJ and maybe a banana. Looking hard into the eyes of baby head rock climbs and never reflecting on ground already covered--what a waste of energy that would be. Repeating chunks of lyrics, “I don’t have digital, I don’t have diddly squat, it’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got” and loving disk brakes, Specialized saddles but hating Cannondale’s HeadShok. I paid tribute to Martha at least once an hour.

Those are the sum of my thoughts, the same ones turned over and over with little variation because anything more sophisticated would have expended too much energy. It was a major goal for me to finish after I vowed never to attempt it again 4 years ago. I set a 14- hour goal and finished in 13:27. Doing so among so many pro and elite athletes was such a rush.

Congratulations to my comrades Jerry, Wes, Kevin, Kay Lynn, Bill, Tim, Mark and Fireman John who all finished.

(right, Kay Lynn and I pose at the finish line. We both abandoned the race in 2003 and finally returned this year for revenge. Photo by Mike McMahon.)

See article by Sue George.


Silly said...

Yeah Liz!
Congrats to you. We're all so proud. You were one of only 27 women who finished~ and I am not sure how many did not finish!!!

Liz Schleeper said...

I think 40 started.

It was so great to see you guys there at 2 of the stations. Thanks for helping us all through and sharing laughs.

Danielle Musto said...

Great job Liz! See you in a couple of weeks!!!

JB said...

Way to go Liz!!!!!

MRussell said...

Great race and way to beat your goal. See ya there next year. And even sooner at the VACX races.

Anonymous said...

Way to go Liz. Good on ya for finishing and whipping your goal. Sub-13 next year?

Kevin said...

I'm very proud of you Liz!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

awsome liz, hopefully i can do it next year????????? i`ve been avoiding it like the plague........

Anonymous said...

Wish I could of been out there with you. Next year hopefully. Great job, I knew you could do it.