Monday evening I headed out on one of those rides where I didn’t have any plans. I treated my bike like a horse in the old west. I let the rains loose and let the steed head whatever direction he would.
This led me along the base of Paris Mountain. I had been feeling kind of rough, so I was just spinning along enjoying the cooler weather. As I rode along I remembered some of the rides we had along this route during the summer days.
On these back roads I had my iPhone playing on random. The tracks happened upon the soundtrack to The Man from Snowy River. It seemed the perfect soundtrack for the ride. By the time I reached Old Buncombe road I was feeling pretty satisfied with the entire experience.
I turned onto Altamont Road and started up pretty strong. That first 3 minutes – which took me beyond the water tower – I was averaging 395 watts. As I made the turn from that first test, I realized that this might be a night to give it a try to go sub-twelve without any pacing or cheering section.
The next three minutes would be confirmation of whether this was something worth trying. My watts dropped to 312, but I was still holding a speed average over 12 mph. I reached the halfway point in under 6 minutes averaging over 350 watts.
Yep, this would be the night!
Over the next three minutes I covered a half a mile. My wattage was holding steady at 312 watts for that section, but my speed dropped to a 10 mph average. I tried to remember what Boyd and Strad had told me during my last successful climb.
The thing that came to my mind was Boyd saying, “The worse thing about this is that now you know you can do it.” Actually, that ended up being my encouragement. I knew I could do it. I just had to draw on that past experience.
I needed that memory as I approached those last minutes of the climb. I picked up my average for that last attack to 332 watts. Never did I look down at the computer. Then I reached the final section of the wall. Without even looking at the computer I knew that if I gave it my all the 12 minute barrier would be broken.
Unfortunately, as I crossed the line, I pushed the wrong button on my computer. By the time I realized what I had done and pressed the correct button, my time stood at 11:56. Looking back at my WKO+, I see it was actually 11:53!
I also see that my heart rate on that final kick to the finish was 203 bpm! No wonder I felt like I was going to puke as I rolled over the KOM line. My overall power average was 338 watts with a heart rate average of 184 bpm for the climb. My average speed was 11.1 mph.
So, I can say that even according to the official unofficial rules of recording your personal best up Paris Mountain, I have broken the 12 minute barrier. There is no doubt in my mind that now that I have I will be able to do it on a regular basis.
Funny how that is. You work and work to reach a goal and once you reach it, you find that you can do it again and again. I think it shows that much of this thing we call cycling is mental.