Some Days You Have It, Some Days You Don’t

Why is it some days, you just can’t climb for the life of you. You do everything you think you should, including a constant intake of fluids, electrolyte drinks, e-pills, ibuprofen, but still you find yourself struggling. Then, on other days, it’s like you just go out there and ride … the days you just go out there and ride, you do great, as opposed to all the big preparations you make, and you fizzle.

Marco adjusting the GoPro

Marco adjusting the GoPro

Today was one of those days where I just felt like being lazy, but figured just go out and do the ride. I met Marco and Ruth in front of Roberts. They were running a bit late, but no big deal. I felt kind of lazy today.

This was Marco and Ruth’s first ride back on the tandem after their honeymoon.  That’s two weeks off of the bike.  The last time they were on the bike was when they powered up King’s Mountain on their way from the church to the reception up at Huddard Park.

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I drove over to Pioneer Hotel parking lot, so I didn’t have any warm up at all, except for a couple of hill repeats going down Woodside Rd to the Park and Ride, and back.

We decided to ride up Kings Mountain Rd, and so far, there was nothing special about the climb.  I deliberately had my front chainring on the middle, but knowing all along, I would have to get down to my granny gear.  I pass Marco and Ruth early on in the climb, and I felt myself get into a good rhythm.  Before we left, I saw my good friends Steve and Cheryl, from Western Wheelers, who are great climbers.  I suddenly saw them up ahead of me.  So I used them as a target, and just dug deep down, and concentrated on trying to catch up with them, which I eventually did.  I rode with them till about 400 feet from the top.  Perhaps this helped me up the hill, but you have to realize Steve and Cheryl usually are way ahead of me on the climbs, even if they are doing a recovery ride, and I’m not.  Hmmm … I am feeling really strong today.  It’s not like I did anything special to prepare for this.  I didn’t have any notion that today would be a great climbing day.  What’s up with that?

Marco and Ruth were definitely feeling the effects of the two week layoff from the bike.  I’m usually either behind them, or just barely ahead of them on a long climb like this.  I think another week of riding, and they’ll be back to their old selves.  Plus, by that time, they’ll probably have their Calfee tandem all built up.

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I made it to the top, just about a minute after Steve and Cheryl made it up there.  Another WW’er, James, was also up there, and I took a quick picture of them.  It was great seeing them again, and great to see I was able to keep up with them.  Now if only I can fight this battle of the bulge thing.  I just know if I lose 5-10 lbs, my climbing will improve.

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I usually don’t time myself up King’s Mountain, but I did for some reason this time.  I made up it in about 37 minutes.  Not sure if that’s good or bad .. all I know is a couple of weeks ago, I did OLH in 35 minutes, and King’s Mountain is definitely tougher than OLH.  After a quick stop, we headed northbound on Skyline, and as soon as we hit the downhill, Marco and Ruth kicked it a higher notch, and I was stuck behind, not able to descend at the same pace.  I think my top speed was 42 mph, but even that didn’t even come close to what the tandem can reach on the descent.

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I hooked up with Marco and Ruth again after making a left turn onto West Old La Honda, which is a climb, but not as long as King’s Mountain, or OLH.  Again, I was able to charge up the hill.  Again, my legs had it today … what it was, I really don’t know.  If only there was some way to tap into this, and repeat it every time I go out.

All in all, it was a great ride.  Sometimes, when you know you are going a short distance, it is more beneficial to kill yourself in the short time span you have.  I think that’s what I did today.

And here’s a video taken from the GoPro on the tandem …

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