Sunday was a Meetup ride up Hamilton, and a small group wanting to do the backside as well. I was determined to do this, after I failed to complete this when I arranged to get my friend Karen, Dan, and Ramon together for a ride. From reports, it looked like it was a great ride, and I was sad to have missed it (due to a broken chain).
I was suffering through allergies the day before, so I made sure I took antihistimine, just so I wouldn’t be suffering while on the climb.
We had a great turnout, with ~ 7 of us heading out 5 minutes before everyone else. I actually wanted to head out earlier, just because I know I’m not going to be one of the faster climbers.
The lead group was going at a pretty brisk pace, but not fast enough where I was not able to hang on to them. Or could it be that they just wanted to keep the group together? Well, whatever it was, I was able to climb the first half to Grant Park without feeling too fatigued. Now, knowing that I’m planning to do both sides of Hamilton, you would think I would conserve my energy, right? Well, think again.
I proceeded to start plucking away at riders in front of me. I think I’ve come to the conclusion that climbing mountains, in a big group, gives me that much more adrenaline, and amps up my aggression. I did notice that I was only in my middle chain ring … hmm, maybe that’s why I was climbing faster than I normally would on Hamilton. What I didn’t understand was why I wasn’t all tired. Maybe it’s because of the previous week’s hill climbing I’ve been doing?
I got up to the top, and much to my surprise, I wasn’t the last of the group wanting to do the backside. I took a quick glance at my Garmin, and it seemed like I could come close to my PR, but since I didn’t look at what time I started, I couldn’t tell.
After chowing down, and getting our sugar high (coke), it’s time to head down the hill, on the other side of Hamilton, and ready for the steep climb back up. Since I climbed the front side solely on my middle chain ring, I decided to climb the steeper side with my granny gear.
As usual, I found myself near the back of the pack, but I did have company in the back. They kinda kept me on a good pace, not faultering at a slow pace, and not climbing beyond what my pace can handle. This time, I didn’t stop for any breaks at all. I just felt a bit stronger today, and by the time I got back up to the top, I wasn’t as exhausted as I thought I would be. Yes, this was a lot of climbing, but I felt unusually good about the day.
I met up with everyone back at the observatory, for another refreshing stop, before heading down the hill again. Now that the hard part is done, we could relax and do some sight seeing. Yeah, I know, I’ve taken these pictures before … but every time I come up here, the feeling is different and refreshed.
Okay, now I’ve teased you long enough … final results … PR on both front and back sides. Wow, this doesn’t happen every day. Front side, 2:07:54, and previous PR was 2:08:04. On the back side, my PR was 51:28, and previous best was 1:01:43. Wow, I beat it by 10 minutes? Wow, I have to admit, this is a good feeling.