Don Quixote on a bicycle

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m at peace with taking what comes my way when it comes to the bicycle. It hasn’t been easy to reach this point. Now that I have, I’m feeling like a kid again.

Maybe I won’t get a chance to race again this year. Maybe I’ll get several chances. Thing is, I don’t know and it doesn’t matter. I hope I do, but I don’t have to.

Of course, that has led to the arguing in my mind, “Why do this training if you aren’t going to race?” I guess that is a reasonable question. My answer is that if I get a chance to race, I want to be ready for it. Plus, even if I’m not racing in an official event, I still can “race” against my personal goals.

Looking out from Paris Mountain

Looking forward to getting back out there someday.

Take for instance the climb up Paris Mountain. I went up it at speed on Friday and then again on Saturday. Friday’s time was 13:02. It came after several power intervals and that seems to cause me to run out of gas toward the top. Saturday, I headed out for the mountain with a steady state interval on the way. The legs gave me the impression that I was going to have a tough time on this climbing repeat interval.

Always switching things up, I decided to climb this time in my big ring. My thought was that if I could keep the momentum going I could produce more power and have more gear for when I hit those flatter sections. I fully expected to have my legs explode two-thirds up the climb.

Hmmmm, I was feeling pretty good as I finished the water tower section. At the halfway point I was moving much better than times past. I rolled past the midway point at 5:45. The big ring was still turning.

At two-thirds of the climb I hit that section where I normally die. Almost instinctively I went for the shifter to find some relief. I knew that would be the death knell.

Instead, I stood and reminded myself that there was a short reprieve if I could just keep turning. Sure enough I hit a section that helped me gather myself for the last few turns to the base of the wall. The timer reached 11:45 as I stood to give the final push up the hardest section of the climb.

As I crossed the line I had a mixture of emotions. I had shifted to an easier gear about halfway up. Still, I had pushed through. I was disappointed that it took me a whole minute to climb the wall, but I was pleased that on a day I thought would be bad I held a consistent time of 12:45.

It gave me some thoughts on how I’ll approach the climb next time. Sometime soon I’m going to attempt the climb on my Giant — which is a bit lighter than the Felt — sans water bottles and saddle bag. Unfortunately, I’m still fluctuating at 5 – 10 pounds heavier than I was the last time I had an attempt like that.

Downtown Greenville

Beautiful Easter day in Greenville

After morning services and a wonderful lunch with my family, I headed out for an easy spin around town. I did have a matter of business to take care of before making my way to Starbucks for a coffee. It meant heading over to Nature Trail near Herdkoltz Park.

I had forgotten that I had a Strava account. However, on Saturday I received a Tweet from a newer cyclist. It was a screen shot of his phone showing that he was only seconds away from passing my time on the Nature Trail climb. I took a look at the list and noticed the current King of the Mountain was someone I had ridden with often and figured I could beat that time.

With fresher legs than I normally would (Nature Trail always seems to come at the end of hard rides), went up the climb to open my legs. Not bad… I was matching the times on Strava. Now it was time to go at it hard. I hit the base of the .4 mile incline of 6.8% at a sprint.

That didn’t last! When the road kicked up near the end, I was seated and fighting to get the pedals around. The killer time was slipping away.

What a beautiful day to ride into downtown! By the time I got there, the effort up Nature Trail was flushed from my legs. I sat in the shade and enjoyed my pumpkin bread and coffee.

At home, I loaded up the data and found that I did take the KOM with a time of 1:59. For those two minutes I averaged 477 watts. Of course, my first thought was, “I can do better than that!”

So the fun continues. I’m sure that there are those who think I am Don Quixote chasing windmills on the back roads of Greenville County. That is okay. That is where I am at peace. Thing is, I don’t care what people think. I’m happy where I am.