July 13, 1995...Evil Intentions...

I was in the back yard, preparing my bicycle for the Virginia Commonwealth games, an event which drew about 4000 athletes to Roanoke, Virginia every year. I noticed Moo was staring up at the upstairs window, and when I stepped back I noticed Lunch the Cat was up there looking down on her. The photo below caught both of them in their stare-down. I got close-ups of both cats on the top and bottom right photos, in stalking mode...a photo opportunity... Mr. Horsey quietly works on his bicycle, praying he doesn't get caught in the crossfire of a 4-year feud of the felines>>>

I had to drive my Red Civic Si (Simon) to Roanoke, Virginia the next morning, a cute and exciting car, but I never put air conditioning in it when I lived in Washington State. When I arrived at Roanoke four hours later, I was very hot, and the radio had reported a heat index of 110 degrees at only 10am. The first day's race was 40 miles through the Blue Ridge mountains, 20 miles out, mostly uphill, and 20 miles back, mostly downhill, with 5000 feet of elevation gain in the race. The entire course was either uphill or downhill with only a very small portion being level. I brought only one water bottle, so right from the start, I had to back off the pace because of the heat. I knew I was in trouble. When you climb on a bicycle, you don't get much wind to cool you off.

On the 6-mile climb to the 20-mile turnaround, the heat was so bad I could feel my heartbeat moving me. My skin was cold and clammy, and I was dizzy. It wasn't a terribly difficult climb, but it was long and unceasing, and the heat was overwhelming.

You want a piece of this???!!!(meow)>>>
You come down here and say that to my face!!! (meow)>>>
I stopped once to cool off (first time I'd ever stopped in a race) and then again when I saw a spectator who had a water jug.

The race support was sad--one water station, and you had to stop to wait in line to fill your water bottle. This was the poorest organized, race I'd ever done, and considering the high entry fee, I expected more. It was, however, the best course in the area. After the turnaround I lost time again when my chain fell off. The 20 miles back was almost all downhill. I finished in 2hrs 10 minutes, averaging only about 18 1/2 miles an hour, and was about third or fouth from last. I was so afraid the heat would cause me to lose my balance at 45 miles an hour on the downhills, but in the end, I was just happy to have survived.
At the finish, one of the guys I'd beaten came up to me and said that he and another guy were gaining on me during the long downhill and when they approached me, I dropped low on the bicycle and rode away from them. I didn't remember much from the race but it was one of the few times I was ever complimented on my descending prowess.

When I arrived at my motel, my body was covered in a heat-rash. I stayed in bed, drinking all day, concerned about my health.
The next morning was a 1.8 mile time trial up to the top of 2000-foot Mill Mountain, up to the Roanoke Star, an 88 1/2 foot illuminated neon star, which at the time was the largest man-made star in the world. It was a very short and very steep race. I faired better there, and won a silver medal (paper weight) for my group with a time of 12 minutes flat.

July 13, 1995
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