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.
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.
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.