Saturday, I decided to do some hill repeats of Montebello, my local mountainous hill. It’s a 5.2 mile, 2,000 foot climb. I did this with the Meetup group, who were training for the Death Ride. Their goal was to do 5 repeats … that’s a 10,000 foot day. I wasn’t up for that much, but I did join them for climbs 2 and 3. It was actually a pretty decent sized turnout. I think there were about 12 of us when I went on the first climb.
I felt good going out, and I started out on my middle chainring. However, that soon changed, as the grade pitched up to 15+%, and time to shift into the granny gear. I could already see the strong riders pull away from me, and I’m not about to go chasing them (as if I could). As soon as I reached the school, it leveled off a little bit, and was able to go back to my middle chain ring. From that point on, I kept it there, and just powered it until the last mile of the climb.
I know this climb very well, and with that in mind, I just kept my head focused 10 feet in front of me, not tempting myself to look and see what slope I have ahead of me. That kind of help me with my pacing and aggressive hill climbing. As they always say, don’t look up, and just power through it. I felt pretty good, but only found out afterwards, it was not a PR, but that was okay. All that mattered was how good it felt.
Down the hill, and to munch on snacks (cookies, nuts, smoked salmon …mmmm). Kudos to Mark for coming up with this ride, and most importantly, the rewards at the bottom of the hill. After munching on goodies, it’s back up the hill again.
Second time around, I could definitely feel slowness in my climb, as expected. Now you would think that doing the same climb over and over again would be a little boring, but for some odd reason, it isn’t monotonous. It had its own challenges. Remember how I said I would just keep my head down and not look at what’s up ahead? Well, I looked up … not sure if that impacted my climb time, but it was a little slower … 5 minutes slower. Back at the bottom of the hill, munching for more goodies, and I do feel my legs are saying no more, so that’s it for me … only 2.
Sunday, it’s some rolling hills, with about 60 miles and 3000 feet of climbing, so doesn’t look too bad, right? No long climbs like Montebello … only substantial one is Edgewood, but there are plenty of short bursty, punch in the gut climbs. This group had some aggressive riders, but I was able to hold my own. After the major climb of the day, it was mostly flat on the way back. For some reason, I was struggling to hang in with the group. I just started to think, is this how it’s like to ride in a multi-day race? Mountainous terrain one day, aggressive, short, rolling hills the next day … and it had me gasping, reaching to grab onto any wheel in front of me.
Perhaps it’s the aggressive hill climbing in the morning, or maybe it was the intensity and amount of climbing I had the previous day … but I did feel the suffrage. Good suffer points, I guess. At least I’m not racing … but then again, anything’s possible.