Hillclimb Feature Presentation 14; JD Hale

My story starts with Tuesday of race week. I had been dealing off and on with ankle pain since March and it actually was feeling better after the Pan Mass Challenge, my 15th.  But I had a hard time walking on my ankle in bike shoes so I got an MRI and wanted to confirm I would not do any damage to the joint by doing MT Washington, my favorite  bike ride each year (would have been my 9th).

I went to Brigham and Women’s ankle specialist Dr Jeremy Smith – and after reviewing the MRI and consulting with a colleague he said I needed to be booted and off it for a month.  No race, no weight on it, no fun. (Bone bruise in my joint – we think initially from a ski crash at Sugarbush).

It was really weird to leave the doctor’s office in Boston – and have folks open the doors for me.  I was ready for Washington! – I felt I had a 1:31 to 1:35 in me based on my training depending on weather/conditions. (My PR is 1:30:36 in 2012 at age 53)  So the mind shift was really intense to go from a totally pumped feeling to on crutches and booted.  I was not a happy camper on the car ride home.

But by the time I got home. My head had cleared and I had a different plan. Get better, do everything they tell me – and get my ass to the top of MT Washington to cheer all the riders and especially The Rippers (18 were racing) – bring cow bells, drive someone’s car up and be really, really loud!

It all worked out so well.   I had a nice dinner Friday night with a bunch of our crew in Gorham. I got to drink more beer.  I got to drive up (really cool to mentally review the whole course on race day with normal heart rate and breathing). And then when I arrived – the volunteers saw my crutches in the back of the pick up – and gave me a special spot to park –and view the race from. So great. I love being on that mountain.

I ended up moving more to the base of the 22% but we established a nice beachhead along with some other Ripper fans – and as each Ripper finished our “Ripper Wall” got bigger and louder. But the time we were cheering our 1:35 plusers – we were really loud.  Each Ripper said it made a huge difference as they attacked the 22%!

The weather was great – fab ride down – Incredible turkey from Hart’s Turkey Farm – and great friends, and stayed until the very end – saw every podium finisher.  The only bummer was not being able to bump my entry to next year – but hey Tin Mountain is a great cause.

On the way out – I was crossing the auto road and start line – to get to my car – on crutches.  And a racer car stopped to let me cross – the racer – who I did not know – looked at me and said “You will be back and better next year!” AMEN! You got that right!

Great race, great people, great mountain.  Love it, the whole thing, except the actual race (kidding, sort of). LOL.  See you in 2016!

jd1 jd3 jd4 jd2

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