The Bolder Boulder is the big road race around here – 10k, 50,000 contestants, giant party. It’s Memorial Day weekend.
I’ve been spending some time going over parts of the course (the hilly parts!), trying to decide if I want to enter this year. My Beloved, who normally runs it more than twice as fast as I could push it, is having trouble with his knee, and is willing to walk/jog along with me as slowly as necessary, if I want him to.
Monday I went out to check out the last mile, because that’s the hill that everybody talks about. It wasn’t too bad – a nice cruise along Walnut, then turn south onto Folsom heading up to the stadium. The sidewalks really suck on Folsom south of Arapaho, but that won’t matter on race day because it’ll be in the street. There’s a little piece of sidewalk about halfway to Stadium Drive that looks like about a 35 degree slope – my wheels were slipping back down even as I was hanging on to the handrail to pull myself up. I wound up doing that backwards, and grabbing a friendly jogger to spot me going back down it the other way. I got up the hill to Stadium Drive and thought, ok, that was do-able. Hard, but do-able.
The next day I was at the gym with my trainer, who said, “Wait, you mean you didn’t turn on to Stadium and check out the slope for the last quarter of a kilometer? Because that’s the real killer.” And he added, “Remember, if it’s too steep you should go up backwards.”
So Wednesday I did. When you turn onto Stadium Drive from Folsom, you actually have two choices: there’s a very steep driveway to your left, that goes up to a grassy area surrounded by a chain link fence. I went up that, backwards, and had a nice joyride back down. Or you can go slightly to the right, and down towards a sort of parking area, then back up, steep, around the north end of the stadium, and even more up, steeper, to another parking area. That seemed more likely, so I did that, too. On the first uphill I turned around to go backwards. At some point I was spooked by a shadow on the ground behind me, and did something stupid, and wound up backwards on my head.
This attracted a lot of attention. Cars stopped and people came flocking to pick me up and make sure I wasn’t hurt (I wasn’t). What would that be like in the middle of 50,000 people?